Trying to find one’s passion in life is difficult for some. It can take years to find exactly what one likes to do. And when a person does find his passion, keeping it and succeeding with it are two separate goals entirely. “Burnt,” starring Bradley Cooper, not only focuses on how passion changes throughout life, but also offers a cocktail of other surprisingly potent life lessons. However, is this drama able to offer a course of well-served morals alongside delicious meals, or is the film’s title more fitting than we realize? Well …
After a three-year penance shucking a million oysters for past mistakes, disgraced chef Adam Jones (Cooper) comes to England to try and attain his third Michelin Star for his new restaurant, which, to quote the movie, “would make him [as famous as] Yoda.” But with past mistakes like debt, rivals haunting him, emotional hurdles to overcome and an attitude in the kitchen more akin to Darth Vader, that goal is easier said than done.
The movie quickly establishes its plot, and the ups and downs that happen throughout the film, like old flames and a surprising plot of revenge, can make viewers feel as if they’re on an emotional roller coaster. While some may say that the film doesn’t focus on the main plot as well as it should, the quick changes are part of the movie’s strength.
The true center of the movie is the characters who have a wide spectrum of personalities — some memorable and some clashing in the kitchen. Many of the film’s ideals and morals are transmitted through these characters. The lead, Adam Jones acknowledges his own superiority complex, but declares that a great chef needs to be arrogant and constantly changing, because that arrogance fuels a chef’s career.
The supporting cast in the movie is also fun to watch, though the film fails to show their relationship with Jones. While some have a history with Jones, having worked with or done business with him in the past, they only mention this and never show these past interactions on screen. One of his staff was recently released from prison, but we don’t even know his crime. When a lot of character details are told instead of shown, a film suddenly becomes less substantial.
Other critics might say that all the morals and lessons the film presents render the movie cliché. I disagree. The film gives lessons about family, passion, perfection and not needing to achieve your goals on the very first try. Much like Jones himself, the film presents a wonderfully constructed meal reminding the audience just how hectic life can be, both in good and bad ways. Be warned though — some of you may be hungry for some reason once the credits roll.