Toast (TV Movie 2010) Poster

(2010 TV Movie)

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6/10
A coming-of-age memoir as complicated as TOAST.
twilliams7613 July 2011
The film, Toast, is based upon the autobiographical book, Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger, written by English food writer, journalist and broadcaster, Nigel Slater. It is a memoir of Slater's early years and his memories of his mother who died when he was just 9 years old.

The book/film is entitled Toast as that was the ONE food his mother was able to successfully cook ... and he tells us that a person will always love the one who prepared slices of the warm, crunchy, buttery goodness to you as a child. The young Nigel must've held true to this mantra even in childhood, as he never accepted or trusted his father's new "cleaning lady", Mrs. Potter (Helena Bonham Carter - Sweeney Todd, The King's Speech, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), who won her way into his father's heart with her culinary expertise ... much to Nigel's chagrin.

As Nigel was already interested in food (he'd drool over the exotic cheeses at his local grocer or sneak a flashlight into his bed to look at the mouth-watering pictures in the family cookbooks), he eventually becomes highly competitive with Mrs. Potter in hopes of winning-over his always-distant father.

Toast takes place over a span of ten years and so Nigel is played by two different actors. Young Nigel is played by a remarkable Oscar Kennedy who is making his feature film debut (!!!) while the older, teenage Nigel is played by Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Finding Neverland, The Spiderwick Chronicles). Highmore is a great, young actor; but it is surprising to admit that the younger, less-experienced Kennedy outshines him in this film as Kennedy's Nigel does more of the grieving and Highmore is scripted to do more of the pouting.

Toast isn't as boring as the title makes it sound; nor is it overly compelling as it turns into a most-conventional, lite-biopic. Bonham Carter is always good and her scheming, competitively outrageous behavior here is the butter on this piece of toast. The film is about Nigel Slater (kind of a blank page as he gets older) but he wouldn't have become who he is without the provocation of this film's Kitchen Queen, Mrs. Potter ... nor would the film be what it is without Bonham Carter.
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5/10
Average nostalgia flick.
david-barrs10 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Good performance by H.B.C and Ken Stott and quite good for the 1960s portrayal but sadly it just shown Nigel Slater as a very self centred person and a spoilt brat.The kind of person no one likes.Why would you want to be seen like that unless you actually were. Do not really see the point of the film.What had the stepmother done to deserve such treatment? Why was Nigel such a brat? What happens to the stepmother? Maybe more relevant facts should have been accounted for. His school days and education were barely touched as were his teenage years.The film ends with a job at the Savoy and the viewer is left to decide what then happens.I just do not see what Nigel Slater was hoping to get across.
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4/10
not quite a nostalgia trip
garbanzosauce30 December 2011
I saw this movie without knowing who Nigel Slater is. The trailer made it out to be a humorous coming-of-age story about a boy with a passion for cooking.

The young Nigel never gives Mrs. Potter a chance - because she works as a house cleaner, is a bit vulgar and lives in public housing, he looks down on her and puts her down in front of his father whenever he can. He wins sympathy points for the emotionally abusive father and the dying mother, but ultimately he himself is not a likable character. And that is the main drawback of the movie. It seems to have been created mainly to vilify the stepmother that Nigel never liked.

Otherwise there is nothing wrong with it. In fact I think Helena Bonham-Carter delivers a great performance as Mrs. Potter.
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9/10
Warm, tender, evocative, multi-layered and wonderfully acted
TheLittleSongbird6 January 2011
To be perfectly honest, I wasn't expecting something this good when I tuned in to watch Toast. While it doesn't quite make my favourite dramas of all-time list, it is for me one of the better programmes airing over the Christmas season. Is Toast sentimental? Yes, in a way I suppose it is. But it is also warm, gentle and tender, not to mention evocative and multi-layered. Toast looks wonderful certainly, as the production values and period detail are really quite pleasing. The photography is very skillful, while the scenery and costumes are beautiful. In general, I did like the music. It did occasionally get a tad over-bearing, but in its more subdued moments it was quite charming and quaint, very like the drama itself. The script is always touching, honest and funny, while the story is engaging throughout and the pacing and direction are also spot-on. The acting is perfect across the board. Oscar Kennedy is wonderful as young Nigel Slater, and while Freddie Highmore as his teenage self is good Kennedy was better. Ken Stott is also winning as his father, and Victoria Hamilton is very touching. Helena Bonham Carter also gives one of her better performances of late. All in all, this is a very absorbing and beautifully done drama. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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8/10
Very refreshing journey through 60's Britain! Brilliant Cast, Brilliant Storyline!
Cherry-Chopstick30 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I loved watching this very nice trip into the past! The way all the actors portrayed their characters was amazing. Particularly Helena Bonham Carter is great in this movie! Watching the title character, Nigel, progress throughout the film, discovering himself as well as his love for food, made the film a lot more interesting to watch. Apart from that, the different types of food being cooked made you long for a taste! The only down point of the movie, was the abrupt ending. In the last five minutes so much happened, that should have needed to be explained more. It would have been nice to see what happens next, after Nigel started his new job, after leaving his home and Mrs. Potter. All in all, "Toast" was a lovely trip into nostalgic, vintage Britain, with superb actors, and some interesting twists (like Nigel realizing something important about himself and his identity) Definitely a film one should watch!!!
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1/10
disappointing story
Yardrat16 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Great cast (everyone), acted well (everyone), well written, filmed well.

But the story itself is just not appealing. Apparently a story based on a shallow little prick that due to his lactose intolerance throws up on his teacher; due to his selfishness made his fathers life miserable and despite the movie's insistence that he has some talent or respect for food he tears down the only character in the movie that shares this love.

There is a nice scene where a young man creates a masterpiece of a salad and but we are left to believe this culinary performance is somehow better (or executed more naturally) than Mrs. Potter's years of consistent good cooking; yet when the lead character tells the chef at the Savoy why he should be hired, he says it is because he can make a great Meringue Pie (the recipe he lifted from Mrs. Potter.)

The very idea that the chef the story was written about actually plays the chef at the end of the movie that gives him a job, is so laughably bad cinema as to sort of make me angry I watched the entire thing expecting at least something more than a bore. Instead the prick is rewarded, the real life chef winks and the viewer gets absolutely nothing. That's all folks.

This movie would do well to have a twist in it similar to "It's a Wonderful Life" but instead after this main character jumps off the bridge...he's gone from the movie...and the father and HIS love live happily ever after in Pottersville.
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7/10
Gourmet
kosmasp24 November 2011
A very fine little movie. And a good exhibition for the actors, who have plenty to work with here. Helena Bonham Carter has a lot of fun and she is cast perfectly. The young actor is really good too. And while I am not always fond of the "based on ...", this feels rather like a movie then say a biopic.

It is light and has a lot of comedy to it, so it is not heavy drama. On the other hand, I don't think it is good for any recipes. I certainly don't remember anything much from that part of the movie. But you know it is called Toast for a reason, of course. A very nice and decent little movie, that is worth your time :o)
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9/10
What a great food fight!
talynsun-12 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Toast is the story of renowned food writer Nigel slaters childhood experience with food or really lack there of. Based on his autobiographical novel of the same name. Filmed in almost permanent amber hue of childhood memories, and with a better than average quality of weekly drama the BBC like to pump out. Firstley Nigel's mother has no love of food, she hate's fresh veg(they have dirt on them)and any thing new or foreign sounding. She boil's tined food in there tins in water in a over-sized pan and hate's every moment of it. This really vex's poor young Nigel who find passion in food & cooking. His first taste of food knowledge comes form the hot male gardener. Whom tender's there garden and Nigel likes to spy on him as he gets naked in the shed from his day in his work clothes. Soon enough Nigel's long suffering mum dies of a Asama attack. And Nigel's dad employs new cleaner Mrs potter(Helena Bonham carter) In reality this reunites actors Freddie high more(older 18 yr old Nigel) with Helena Bonham carter for a third time,they first worked together on women talking dirty when Freddie was 7,before Helena played his mother in Tim Burton's Charlie and the chocolate factory.

Nigel and Mrs potter hate each other on sight,being nothing like Nigel's mother, Mrs potter swears, smokes and cooks well, the latter you think would help them find common ground but no. They battle it out (lot's of fun to watch by the way)for his dads affections.And as Mrs potter Nigel's dad get together and all 3 move to the countryside much to Nigel's destine,he finds work in a local pub as a kitchen hand (boiling bags of frozen food for 20 Min's a piece). He meet the owners boy who's a whizz in the kitchen and quickly fall's in love. i don't want to give much more away than that really but watching toast was a delightful treat from the BBC and the only thing i have not deleted from my planner after watching this Christmas.all in all a great drama 9 out of 10,thank you.
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6/10
Interesting... but anticlimactic.
Restharrow30 May 2012
The casting choices were very good in my opinion; very individual characters who you really feel as if you get to know. Freddie Highmore came in too late unfortunately. The sudden switch lost my sense of attachment to Nigel, and it was too near to the end to have it rebuild. I loved Oscar Kennedy. I thought he was amazing.

The ending was such a letdown, I was still waiting for the 'real ending' when it happened. Nigel's sexuality wasn't really emphasized, nor was it not mentioned. It was just 'there'. It wasn't played into the plot line or Nigel's character development. Probably the most anticlimactic bit after the ending.

Good. But could have been a lot better.
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"Go see Toast. Then cook something."
Christine Merser13 March 2014
The British always seem to have such interesting faces, and because of that their movies seems to have more depth and feeling than American movies. Toast is no exception. This movie contains little dialogue and relies much on visual communication, which could easily have turned it into one of those movies that makes you glance at your watch every twenty minutes. But the casting of such physically unique individuals makes it riveting.

The dynamics of family. I know, I know. Do we really need to go there again? Yes we do, and Toast puts it out there in a raw, you-are-scarred-for-life way that we can all relate to. It hurts to watch the way Nigel Carter, the British food writer on whose biography the movie is based, hurl insults at his dying mother, knowing this behavior will haunt him in the end. It's equally hard to watch the miscommunication between father and son—this could be any home in America where parents and children seem to speaking foreign tongues to each other, tearing the already weakened fabric of parent-child relationships. It's a wonder anyone survives.

But Nigel was a survivor. I liked how he listened to the voice inside him, ignoring society's pressure to fit in. In school he was the only male who chose to take home economics over shop, and he stood at his father's wedding by the cake he'd made so carefully, even though the wedding represented everything that would alienate him even further from his father. Our Nigel did it his way. I half-expected to to hear that Frank Sinatra song at some point during the film.

I loved the reference to toast. "Soft inside the toasted shell, where the butter nestles in…" or something like that. I loved toast when I was growing up, and I think it is the only comfort food that doesn't have a sugar base. My personal favorite was cinnamon toast, but hey, to each his own. I have never met anyone who doesn't like toast, and it was a perfect metaphor.

Which leads us to wonder, is it possible Nigel's mother was that bad a cook? Is it possible that someone could boil cans for dinner and burn them? Go see Toast. Then cook something. Feed those you love with culinary delights you enjoy making and let the sweet and savory fetes roll.

Nice film.
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