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Review: Toast

Culinary dreams among the canned goods of the 60s
By BETSY SHERMAN  |  October 12, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

Toast is a refreshing take on the sub-genre of the food-centric comedy. Whereas most equate good cooking with love, this tale, based on the memoirs of chef Nigel Slater, allows for a contrary view. It's the mid-'60s in the dreary English suburbs, and nine-year-old Nigel salivates over cookery magazines and play-acts at being a grocer. He faces the paradox that his mother, whose culinary repertoire consists of canned foods and toast, is a loving person, whereas housekeeper Mrs. Potter (a brassy Helena Bonham Carter) is a marvelous cook but quite unsavory. Much of the humor comes from the degree to which the little boy, played with conviction by Oscar Kennedy, knows who he is and what he wants. The pathos comes from his father's failure to recognize Nigel's gifts. Screenwriter Lee Hall wrote Billy Elliot, but this movie doesn't just substitute cooking for dance. Director S.J. Clarkson gives it a cozy intimacy, rich with period detail that includes Dusty Springfield on the turntable.

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  Topics: Reviews , Helena Bonham Carter, memoir, toast,  More more >
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