Updated: Apr 23, 2020
"This film cannot, I truly mean cannot, be watched on an empty stomach! Favreau’s sumptuous shots of sizzling steak and cheesy Cuban sandwiches are mouth wateringly brilliant!"
Jon Favreau (Director, Writer, Star) gives us a tale about chef Carl Casper who though once critically acclaimed has now lost the passion that made his food such a success. Distanced from those he loves he pushes his relationships to the brink. His work-alcoholic mindset driving him closer and closer towards being a failure as a father. His artless food fails led to his life going from bad to worse, and he is forced to fall back on his ex-wife and the mother of his son Inez (Sofia Vegara). It is her idea to start a food truck. The food truck that allows him to reconnect with those he loves, find his passion for cooking, and to learn that his son Percy (Emjay Anthony) takes after him more than he knows.
The true star of this film is its screenplay! It is both endearing and heart-warming: Carl is a brash and abrupt man, but he has a heart of gold and this is slowly exposed as his armour is stripped away. His true self appears and is shared with his son as they go on a journey together. The emotional and touching moments with his son are just that. For a film with a dark depressing self-destructive spiral in the beginning, it transforms itself in the second half. It is a lively celebration of food, family, and Cuban culture. The only flaw may lie in how the depressing section does seem to drag.
This film cannot, I truly mean cannot, be watched on an empty stomach! Favreau’s sumptuous shots of sizzling steak and cheesy Cuban sandwiches are mouth-wateringly brilliant! They are a true celebration of the art of cooking and the passion Carl has is infectious.
One of my favourite things is not the breath-taking and hunger inducing shots of delicious food, but the way Twitter is treated. It nearly wrecks Carl’s career before becoming a powerful weapon instrumental to his success. I loved the little blue bird! The way it chirps and flies away captures how a message escapes beyond your control when released into the world. Percy teaching technologically challenged Carl how to use it is also a hugely entertaining moment of the film. The father and son relationship are elevated through social media, they learn from each other and eventually it captures how powerful a father figure’s presence is to their children.
This is a film of two halves! One is a window into the quick-moving and coarse world of profession cooking. And the other, it is a sentimental look at family and what cooking can mean when taken out of the pressurised confines of the professional kitchen. The plot is original and funny. It is heart-warming and not cheesy at all, which is always a refreshing change. I highly recommend sitting down to watch this film during lock-down. I guarantee it will leave you with a smile on your face, maybe a tear in your eye and a desperate craving for a Cuban sandwich by the end!