It’s our Question of the Day: You’ve fallen from grace and lost your reputation. What do you do to start living the life you always wanted, as the man you always knew you could be?
Last night we saw the film Chef starring Jon Favreau.
I will be honest, I loved it. Maybe I’ve spent too much time at The Good Men Project the last few years, but this is a movie that’s about men and what it means to be a man in the 21st Century.
Favreau’s character is a famous chef at a famous restaurant in Los Angeles. He’s also a divorced father of a 10 year-old and the ex-husband of Sofia Vergara (whom I actually started liking because of this film). Things seem good, but you get a sense that he’s a bit panicked, a bit frenetic, and very disconnected from his life – especially his kid.
A lot of shitty things happen to Favreau’s character in this film, and nearly every single one of them loops back to how a man forms his identity in our society: His career, his reputation, his standing with beautiful women, and his role as a dad. And they all fall apart.
But in falling apart, our guy gets to start again. He gets to be a new chef once again, a chef starting from scratch, and a guy who can be daring because he has no further to fall. And in that process, he rediscovers who he is as a boss, as a dad, as a partner, as a friend and as a chef.
He does this all in a food truck selling cubano sandwiches out of a truck, on a road trip with his kid and his best friend.
The movie isn’t perfect. But it’s good. And it’s a good movie about masculinity in all its beauty and glory. It’s a movie about what we do to men when we expect them to be both trailblazers and breadwinners.
And it’s a movie about fresh starts.
So I ask you, if it all fell apart and you had to start again… what would you do?