Sunday, November 27, 2011

Toast (Rhoades)

“Toast” Is Buttered
On Both Sides

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

When a fussy gay chef writes his boyhood memoirs what would you expect them to be about? Food, of course. And a cooking competition between him and his encroaching stepmother.
You see, when Nigel Slater’s mum passes away from chronic asthma, the voluptuous cleaning lady Mrs. Potter (Helen Bonham Carter) decides to cook her way into his dad’s heart – literally and figuratively. Thus, young Nigel (Freddie Highmore) enters into a competition for his dad’s affection.
An epicurean delight, “Toast” is currently playing at the Tropic Cinema.
This British TV film directed by S.J. Clarkson remains fairly true to Slater’s autobiography – and even pays him a nod with a cameo appearance as – what else? – a chef who hires the boy at the end of the film.
The film is beautifully shot, from the opening scenes that swoop along the shelves of a 1960s market to the boy’s pouring over food magazines by flashlight under the cover to the hotel kitchens of London where the boy winds up.
Along the way, Nigel and his stepmother enter into a culinary one-upmanship to win the affections of his ever-broadening dad (Ken Stott). But it’s hard to compete with stockened legs and a to-die-for lemon meringue pie.
Eventually, as in most fairytales, he muss set out on his own.
We’re not sure whether Nigel Slater’s title – “Toast” – refers to the simple bread or a haughty raising his glass to a woman who out cooked him.
 [from Solares Hill]

No comments: