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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Foam on the Range

Burnt (2015) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Burnt out two-star chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) has returned to Europe (London) to reprise his erst­while ruinous failure (“Now I'm back”) in the Paris culinary scene. He wants to go from being toast to being the toast of the town. “I'm going after my third star,” he says, awarded by Michelin to la crème de la crème. His former mentor Jean Luc has died (“He was a great chef.”) His former crew has suffered set­backs (“C'est terrible.”) His new hires lack the requisite attitude (“You lack arrogance.”) His business plan is modeled on “Seven Samurai” (“That's how I want my chefs to be.”) And he hasn't kept up (“Tastes have changed.”)

But not to worry. Aside from skunked lenders, jilted girlfriends (“You're better off with­out me—plus bien sans mois”), betrayed colleagues, suspicious bankers, and the checkered past of any­one still loyal to him (“It's a miracle any of us survived”), it'll be a piece of cake. So infectious is his optimism that we're almost willing to over­look his worrying walks across Waterloo Bridge.


Besides watching the making of fine cuisine, we're also given counsel on the swill they call “peasant food, made for peasants.” That's got by taking a poor cut and garnishing it to make it interesting. Writer Peter Tonkin recounts the Russian proverb: “‘Schti and kashka are all we need.’ … It meant soup and porridge are all we need” (141), although his character argued, “Kashka is not porridge! … Porridge is just govno … ah … mud in comparison!” (142). While three stars are for the best, interesting garnishes are for the worst.

In the movie two fast food joints show up dimly on camera: Burger King and Lexis Snack Bar. Webster defines, “lexis : lexicon 2a” and “lexicon : 2 a : the vocabulary of a language, an individual speaker or group of speakers, or a subject.” It seems to me the two food joints suggest a comparison of “peasant food” to plebeian language, along the lines of, (Job 34:3) “For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.”

Indeed, in the movie experienced sous-chef Helene (Sienna Miller) gives Adam an object lesson on the difference between “equipment” and a “chef”, owing to his indiscriminate usage of the former. And Adam for a time insists his help answer him, “Yes, Chef.” In Tonkin's novel even a ship's captain can be addressed more informally, i.e.: “‘D'accord,’ said the Chef, with no notice­able irony in his tone. More to the point, with no appreciable resentment either” (112). The third elementary language lesson is exquisitely subtle to the point I fear I may be reading some­thing into it, but I offer it just the same.

The four subplots that merge to form the main one are Helene's daughter Lily (Lexi Benbow-Hart) the care of whom forces Helene to accept the high wage offer of a despised Adam, the fine cooking of Adam period that's presented visually, the extensive help of his restaurant's old maître d' Tony (Daniel Brühl) with­out which Adam's come­back is a non­starter, and the residual effects of Adam's prior drug & alcohol abuse, which puts off his investors (among other things.) If we're dealing with a lexicon, these four plot elements are subsumed under a single word, with four different meanings that get lost on the rabble.

Lily's birthday party, for convenience held in the restaurant where her mommy works, was typically gay meaning happy. The foods Adam prepares shown on-screen are gay meaning brightly colored. Tony's fondness for Adam is enhanced by his being in love with him, Tony being gay, meaning he's a poof. And Adam is checked periodically by a therapist Dr. Ross­hilde (Emma Thomp­son)to see that he's not fallen off the wagon. When he relapses, he gets tipsy, what the French euphem­istic­ally call gai.

In a gentle plot meant not to offend anyone's feelings, Adam the heterosexual is shown to be a better cut of a man than the homo. He takes Helene to a function requiring he escort a date and asks her to pretend she's his girl­friend. There's always a chance their chemistry will click under the forced intimacy, but the chance is vanishingly small between him and Tony though he's staying at Tony's place for financial reasons. Helene's husband had left when she became pregnant and he didn't want to be involved. There's always a chance of pregnancy with hetero couples, though it's some­times vanishingly small depending on age and health. With homo couples it's mathe­matic­ally zero. These possibilities of falling in love or having babies just through the course of life make hetero­sexuality a better cut than homo­sexuality, though the movie is pretty low key about it. The rabble take the inferior cut—some might call it a perversion—and garnish it with the innocuous label gay and overuse it to the point that other uses fall by the wayside. This movie gives us a chance to try out the various ones should we care to.

Production Values

This film “” was directed by John Wells. The story is by Michael Kalesniko and the script by Steven Knight. It stars Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, and Daniel Brühl. Cooper flawlessly portrays a chef's aggression, vulnerability, and attention to detail. Sienna Miller does a brilliant job as accomplished female sous-chef Helene. Daniel Brühl is effective as the pained and spurned restaurant manager with a hidden side. Other characters display their actors' talents as well.

MPAA rated it R for language through­out including some sexual references and drug use. It had great photog­raphy and a divergent role for actor Bradley Cooper. Every­thing is taste­fully done (Ouch!) English subtitles were displayed when French was spoken.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

“Burnt” moved so fast it can take one's breath away. It's not a documentary by any means, but it conveyed the same feel I remember from restaurants I've worked in. As long as you're not expecting any­thing too deep, I think this one will suit you for a comedy and drama film experience.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good Date Movie. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software, Print.

Tonkin, Peter. Ice Station. Surrey, England: Severn House Pub., 2011. Print.

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, Mass.: MERRIAM-WEBSTER. 1984. Print.