Toast

November 16, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Posted in 2012, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Not quite as tasty as the eponymous food shown so much reverence in this movie, it is never-the-less, a reasonably pleasant little sugar pill.  The premise of this basically true story is that of a gay boy (now a famous British food writer) who adored his mother, though she could not cook a thing but toast.  She literally only cooked canned food (including meat) and didn’t even open the cans; she just threw them in boiling water and opened them afterward.  After her untimely death, his dad married the housekeeper and Nigel enters a culinary war for his father’s heart.  The movie had moments of genuine charm and made me laugh multiple times.  But, like any placebo, it promises things it can’t deliver.  Where there should be poignancy, insight, empathy, growth, there is only another punch line or a scene change.  In the end, it never digs below the surface of any character, including the lead (played by newcomer Oscar Kennedy at age 9 and by Freddie Highmore at age 15).  Surprisingly, Kennedy was by far the better of the two.  In fact, in general the first half of the film was the most entertaining.  His relationship with his mother was charmingly funny and sometimes deeply sad.  Kennedy was able to capture the full range of this young boy’s emotions, even if the emotions he displayed were slight caricatures, he still had range.  Highmore on the other hand, appeared to be somnambulant.  I don’t know if he was directed this way, was disinterested in the role (it was a made-for-tv movie on BBC 1), or if he just can’t act.  But it was distracting, especially in scenes that should have had emotional weight.  Like I said, the film was charming and one of the best scenes was the kiss Nigel got from an older boy.  In that scene, Highmore seemed filled with a sense of wonder and quiet joy; I supposed one could speculate why he seemed more present in that scene than any other but I think it was just that the blank look and winsome smile he wore throughout the film was suited perfectly for that one scene.

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