The Bear [10/10]

Is “The Bear” (Season 1, apparently Season 2 is on the way), an eight-short-episode show about a “genius prodigy” chef moving back to Chicago to take over a down-market sandwich joint, a candidate for the best cinematic experience of 2022? Just putting it that way accentuates the unlikely nature of this show, but, viewer, all I can tell you is that I was blown away. From the opening scene, the make-no-concessions script charges propulsively though this classic “prodigal son” story, combining an immersive culinary setting and a nutso, dysfunctional family framework that screams minute-by-minute tension. Jeremy Allen White will surely win awards for his lead role and Ebon Moss-Abrach gives an incendiary performance as the restaurant’s reigning asshole, while Ayo Edebiri deeply inhabits the other key role of a questing sous chef. All the acting is impeccably in the moment; the cinematography, both amidst the slop and stylistics of the restaurant, and on the atmospheric streets of Chicago, dazzles; the music stuns; and the direction by Christopher Storer (also the show’s creator and co-writer) and Joanna Storer (a co-writer) is dizzyingly frenetic yet controlled). The story arc is a classic redemption-from-the-gates-of-hell passage that somehow manages to surprise until the final, rousing finale that left me in tears. Watch The Bear. Just watch it.

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