Swingers remains one of my favourite films. It came to me when I was a teenager and really fixated on wanting to become a filmmaker, and the story behind how it made, everything about it, was kind of intoxicating. If you’ve never seen that film it’s absolutely worth hunting for. The reason I bring up Swingers is because it feels like Chef is the first personal film that Favreau has made since - his career became fixated on blockbusters, so it’s nice to see him return to his roots. Chef almost feels like Fav’s commentary on the current studio system and the film itself being his own personal food truck. One can’t help but wonder of the food critic isn’t standing in for a group of film reviewers.
There’s something magical about this film - visually it’s a treat, especially the food porn. At it’s heart it’s the story of a man finding his way back to his roots and becoming a real father to his son. Story-wise the film is pretty light - but what it lacks that way it makes up in character and charisma. It’s the kind of film where heavy-weights like Robert Downey Jr., Scarlet Johanson, and Dustin Hoffman show up to act the hell out of a scene and then let the film take over.
Only issue was that the backstory of the marriage falling apart with Sofia Vergara seemed random - they never seemed to have any issue with each other and it almost felt forced to give him some kind of hurdle to get over… Her character was a bit too one-note and supportive - it would have been a good way to flesh out his character a bit more.
All in all it’s a really fun and lovely little film, a nice palette-cleanser from the typical summer-studio-fare. If you like character based films with a heart - and you’re a bit of a foodie, this one’s right up your alley.