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Review: Pressure Cooker

Culinary school doc cuts like a knife
By PETER KEOUGH  |  September 1, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars

 

A cross between Spellbound and Iron Chef, Mark Becker & Jennifer Grausman's charming documentary follows a year in firebrand educator Wilma Stephenson's "Careers through Culinary Arts" program at Philadelphia's Frankford High School, from her drill-instructor-like introduction to the class to the suspense of the final competition, where they vie for scholarships.

True to the genre, the film focuses on a trio of representative aspirants: Tyree, a star tackle for the football team, who makes an easy transition from gridiron to griddle; Erica, who has served as a mother to her legally blind younger sister and now longs for a life of her own; and Fatoumata, who emigrated from Mali four years earlier and has since gotten straight A's in school but still needs to shake loose from her strict, traditional father.

Pressure Cooker is more dispersed than other films of this type, but also richer — by the end, you won't need to slice onions to get the tear ducts working.

  Topics: Reviews , Entertainment, Movies, Philadelphia,  More more >
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