Movie Review: Chef (2014)

Chef is a funny and heartwarming movie about a creatively exhausted chef trying to make strides in the food truck industry after quitting his day job as a professional chef. This movie, which came out in 2014, was directed by and stars Jon Favreau and has a runtime of one hour and fifty-five minutes. It is a drama and a comedy that encourages people to evaluate the situations they are in and to strive to do whatever makes them happy, if that is possible.

The protagonist of Chef is the once legendary Carl Casper who has found himself in a prestigious Los Angeles restaurant that will not let him make the food he wishes, preferring to stick to a somewhat dull but successful menu instead. After Casper takes a negative review too personally, he decides to quit his job and joins up with his ex-wife, Inez, his best friend, Martin, and his son, Percy, to open up his own food truck. While this may seem like a straight forward film that sends a message about embracing and following your dreams, it also touches on important messages about food and social media use. Throughout the film, lines are seemingly drawn between food cultures. Cuban food is the food that Casper seems to have the most comfort in, and is what he chooses to cook when given options, while he cooks other more traditional LA-style meals when he is employed at someone else’s restaurant. The movie also shows how the restaurant industry can place restrictions on chefs that makes their food less what it could be if they were in a small business that they have full control of. As previously stated, the movie also tackled the topic of social media. Throughout the movie, viewers are shown how social media can be used in a positive networking way that benefits businesses, like Percy does to help get the word out about the food truck, and how it can be destructive and negatively affect people’s lives, like how it does when Casper mistakenly starts a twitter feud.

I found this movie to be very captivating and motivating. This movie has many strengths, such as the excellent visuals. Throughout the movie, there were lots of close up “action shots” of food being cooked and other excellent shots of the beautiful scenery. Another strength would be how the movie portrays its characters so realistically. We see Casper go through highs and lows and get to see first hand how he handles them; we see him get angry, we see him say things he regrets, but we also see him build meaningful relationships and see him become someone who is truly happy with where he is in life. One weakness of the movie would be the somewhat odd pacing. The pacing does not truly seem to be consistent throughout, which is common with both books and movies. It seems like the plot was progressing somewhat slowly until Casper got together and started running his food truck, then everything was seemingly happening very quickly. Overall, I found this movie to be funny, captivating, and heartwarming. It made me laugh at points, had me feeling loads of second hand embarrassment, and warmed my heart to see the characters progress. I would recommend this movie to people, I actually already told my mother that see needs to watch it soon.

I would rate this movie an A- or a B+. It was hilarious, realistic, funny, and lots of other adjectives I cannot think of right now. It had excellent visuals, jokes that did not seem awkward or forced in any way, and funny, relatable scenes. If you are looking for a feel good movie that will leave you feeling content and hopeful, I would definitely recommend checking this out.

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