I watched this movie on the recommendation of a friend. Although the movie poster depicts what appears to be a love story, and although a love affair is a central part of the story, the movie is much more than that. The movie focuses on an epidemiologist as she struggles to understand a disease that, after an emotional outburst, robs people of a sense (beginning with smell). The movie follows her budding relationship with a chef (which allows the movie to follow what happens to ordinary people as they struggle with the loss of senses).
The loss of a sense first sends people into a panic, and leads to questions of malice, including whether another country is acting biological warfare. This leads to suspicion and outbreaks of violence. But as with anything, living returns to normal (or the new normal) shortly after the panic and fear. This is a very existential concept, probably best stated by Nietzsche: “He who has a why can bear almost any how.” Humans adapt; they adjust to the new “normal” and before long this is the new bar against which one measures their life.
In fact, an existential tone begins at the very beginning of the movie, with the first emotional outbreak. A wife describes her husband as being despondent, and reporting he can find no meaning in his life, something she reports is very contrary to his normal persona.
Another existential, or Buddhist / Eastern lesson in the movie is that of being grateful for what you have. We often take our senses for granted, and as the threat of losing one (or another) looms, our protagonists enjoy the senses they have. The chef also makes full use of the remaining senses in preparing his dishes for his upper class clientele.
There is a flaw in the writing, and I found it rather annoying, but to discuss it would give things away I’d rather not.
One of the things I like about movies is when they make you think. I found myself wondering what sense I would give up first, what I would do in similar circumstances. Overall, and without giving anything away, I found the movie to raise questions and make points about our existence, and that, to me, makes for a worthwhile viewing.