Competition Documentary Feature
Love, Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Chef Charlie Trotter
Directed by: Rebecca Halpern
USA, 2021, 96m
Southeast Premiere (2nd U.S. Screening)
“My philosophy has always been, if it weren’t for employees and it weren’t for customers, the restaurant business would be the greatest business in the world… Basically, I hate people.” So begins this captivating tale of Chicago restaurateur and foodie godhead Charlie Trotter. Those opening frames are a winking self-admission of every nasty story ever told about the guy. Trotter was such a prototypical psycho-chef that when producers of the Julia Roberts film My Best Friend’s Wedding needed a crazed chef cameo, they cast Trotter to do what came naturally. “I’m gonna kill your whole family if you don’t get this right,” Trotter bellowed to a kitchen assistant. “I need this perfect!” Director Rebecca Halpern does not pull any punches in this unvarnished profile of a gastronomic revolutionary and a culinary bad-boy who pursued perfection at all costs. Trotter was more than just a kitchen scold, and his namesake restaurant literally built the model for a quality-obsessed, Michelin-star-driven food movement that endures to this day. Halpern got access to everything from Trotter family home movies to chaotic behind the scenes restaurant footage, all of which frame modern interviews with those who loved, loathed, or sued Trotter. Whether you’re vaguely familiar or utterly unaware of Trotter’s legacy, Love, Charlie stands as a fascinating and definitive look at the man’s life and times.
In 1971, Jack and Betty were nearly killed in a horrible car accident. Almost 50 years later, the couple returns to the scene and discovers they don’t agree on a single damn thing. A new work from the director of “Betty Feeds the Animals,” FFF 2019.