Thursday, July 10

Chef

Chef is Jon Favreau's latest offering about a man who has lost passion on a lot of things in his life. Despite being one of the celebrated chefs in the culinary world, Carl has succumbed to a lifeless manner of preparing food, cooking the same dishes over and over again. It's not that he is uninspired - we immediately get a glimpse of the new cuisine he wanted to prepare a critic, but due to his failed experimentation years ago, and the restaurateur's desire to serve what works, the critic has immediately lashed out Carl's talent, sending the chef into a craze rampant. After quitting his job, and throwing a rampage in public, he has lost all perspectives to cooking, until his ex-wife brought him to Miami with her, and he finally went with the food truck idea she had been prodding him about ages ago.

Favreau has given us a film that rediscovers one's passions in life. Carl's zest for culinary zeal has transpired despite the simplicity of his dishes. Not only does he get to do what he really wants, he also embarks on a journey with reconnecting with his family. Carl and his wife have stayed good friends, and even he has a weird situation with his ex-wife's ex-husband. Most importantly, he gets to reconnect with his son, giving the film an extra boost of character. 

The characters were perfectly cast. Jon Favreau has given a good performance as Carl, his demeanor suited for the character. He doesn't seem to play a lead character much often now, and has resorted his talents off-screen, but he portrayed Carl very well. His character was a little awkward at start, but when he goes back to his culinary roots, everything just starts to work out for him. I also liked Sofia Vergara's performance - it's nice to see her outside of her Modern Family persona. We barely get to see Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale and Robert Downey Jr. onscreen, but even they gave good performances, Johanssen most especially from the trio. There are also brief appearances by Dustin Hoffman, who really played that stubborn restaurant owner very well, and Oliver Platt, who could have used a bit more smugness and intimidation, something I think he could have easily pulled off. Martin, who basically quit his job and followed Carl, played by John Leguizamo was also a great addition to the film. His character had good chemistry with Favreau's, making their friendship spark. Percy, played by Emjay Anthony, was definitely the glue that gave the film its extra punch. 


Chef started off in a good tone, and held up very well...until the final act happened. Everything else went smoothly, but the final minutes seemed very rushed just to wrap things up. I think they could have gone with an alternative ending - something similar, but with a more realistic touch. A part of the ending just really came out of nowhere and basically fractured the demeanor of the film. Nonetheless, a hasty end doesn't tarnish the film as the whole. 

The film was lovely because it had a lot of heart. The story itself was filled with it; after all, it exemplified passion in life and in other fields. The cast was amazing, and brought life to the characters and the story. I may not be familiar with much of Jon Favreau's work as an actor (my introduction to the actor was actually his stint in the show Friends), but in terms of directing, this one is definitely for the books.


Final Word: A film with a lot of heart, this easily climbed to one of the top films I've seen this year.

Cast: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson
Director: Jon Favreau
Year: 2014

8 comments:

  1. It was so good.. so honest and so.. I don't know.. just .. I want to watch it again and again. I liked the end though.. it symbolized the fact that he started to love what he did again and that in turn made him loveable again. But I mean, that's just my opinion.

    Good review!

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    1. The movie was fantastic! The food made me hungry. I was kind of looking for a more realistic kind of ending. I don't mind the happy ending, I thought it could have used a different approach though.

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  2. I loved this movie - so relatable, loaded with heart and funny to boot :) Great review!

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    1. Thank you! The movie was amazing, really. One of the best this year so far.

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  3. Hi, I've seen commercials for this movie, but I didn't really know what it was about. It sounds like a passion project for Favreau.

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    1. Hello! Chef is a great film from Favreau. I recommend it if you're a fan of his.

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  4. with all the blogs reviewing this i cant help but wanting to see this (plus its RDJ, ScarJo and Sofia Vergara! XD) I have to wait for the home media release though, I am confused why cinema in my country wont distribute something like this :(

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    1. I hope you get to see it soon! :) It's such a delight, and the cast was wonderful!

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