Burnt Movie Review & Film Summary

Whether or not you agree with the following review of the new film Burnt, there is one thing you must take seriously: do not go on an empty stomach! The latest film from director John Wells focuses on the gorgeous-looking gourmet food. If you’re someone who loves the art of plating, are a foodie, or just likes watching chefs do their thing, and then I’m sure you’ll enjoy the new dramedy. But if you are not going to salivate over the enchanting plates, you might find yourself a bit disappointed.

Bradley Cooper & Sienna Miller in Burnt

Bradley Cooper & Sienna Miller in Burnt

Burnt tells the story of Chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper), who destroyed his once-booming career with drugs and other vices, hurting a few people along the way. However, after a self-served punishment of shucking a million oysters, he decides to return to London, spearhead a top restaurant, and earn three Michelin Stars. However, he has a lot to prove to his former friends and colleagues, but most importantly—himself.

The issue lies with the plot, that isn’t very interesting at all because it lacks any real challenges for Adam. It’s also about as generic as one could imagine; you will be putting A to B, as the beginning credits are rolling. For instance, as he meets young, no-nonsense Chef Helene (Sienna Miller), it’s only a guessing game of when they fall in love. The movie also opens many doors that it never has the intention of closing later on. For example, early in the film, Adam moves into a young, aspiring chefs place because he has nowhere to go. He trades lessons for a room; we see him stay there for a morning, but then that’s it. Granted, we see the boy in his new kitchen, and we know he moves into the hotel to which the restaurant is in, but then why introduce us to the boy and his girlfriend.

The same thing happens again later on, when Uma Thurman’s character appears—she’s the critic that can make or break you (haven’t heard that cliché before). She’s in a scene or two and never alluded to again. Finally, there is this running subplot about Cooper’s character owing “a lot of money” to some drug dealers. This only comes up two or three times and ends anti-climatically as it is resolved quickly and neatly. It shouldn’t even have been an element of Burnt. The intense climax that puts Adam over the edge is when you’d expect to come into play—but no. That climatic moment happens in the kitchen.

There is one moment in the film, however, that hit home. I’m still not quite sure why because it wasn’t a particularly emotional scene. It’s when Adam comes face to face with Helene’s daughter, Lily (Lexi Benbow-Hart). Since, Adam didn’t let Helene take the day off for her daughter’s birthday; she had to bring the child to the restaurant. In the middle of lunch, the girl requests a birthday cake. After some quarrelling, Adam obliges. He presents a gorgeous cake, which the little girl tries, take a moment and offers the perfect response, “I’ve had better.” It earns a solid laugh, but it’s the following moments when she offers him the fork, and they both begin sharing the cake. A seemingly, simple scene hit with an emotional punch. Maybe because we finally see Adam drop his guard and enjoying the thing he loves with someone that won’t judge him.

Burnt isn’t a bad movie. It’s more tolerable and mediocre. I wasn’t begging for it to end, or chugging a pop to keep myself awake. Instead, I enjoyed the exquisite meals prepared, and the wonderful environment of the kitchen. For those who’ve ever been lucky enough to work in a restaurant or kitchen know just how incredibly chaotic, but addicting that environment is. I will say, I honestly bought Cooper as a Chef. When he stands at the pass, cleaning plates, checking temperatures, and presentation. I would have guessed he’d been in the kitchen for years. But he, of course, channels Gordon Ramsay (who was a chef consultant on the film) in a few scenes to remind us, there is no such thing as a calm chef—which is only three-quarters true. Burnt isn’t delicious, and can use some seasoning, as for those who see it with high expectations will know it is bland.

2.5 out of 4 stars

-By Jacob Tiranno

In case you missed our video review for this week, check it out below:

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