The film is premiering in theaters today and is sure to be an adventure just like the life of Bourdain himself. The provocative star saw himself in headlines for over a decade with many shows and appearances.
Bourdain passed away by suicide in June of 2018, leaving a great feeling of public loss behind. We all have missed Bourdain gracing our screens for a couple years now and this last look into his life will give many a final bittersweet view after the star's passing.
Bourdain began his rise to fame as an executive chef in Manhattan. He started writing culinary books in the 90's that grew more and more popular with each release. He was an extraordinarily successful writer and along with his strong personality came a great opportunity for Bourdain on television. He hosted and starred in a string of food and travel shows starting in 2002 and ending with his travel show Parts Unknown in 2018.
Bourdain was known as a heavy smoker for most of his life and also discussed and wrote about his heavy drug usage in the 80's and 90's. He credited many decisions in his life to his drug usage and reflected on this time comically yet simultaneously seriously in appearances.
The documentary was directed by filmmaker Morgan Neville, the mastermind behind Won't You Be My Neighbor? starring Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers. Neville took it upon himself to serve as a grief counselor for many. He went around interviewing and talking to close friends and family of Bourdain to get the true story that existed beyond the public eye.
Critics have said that the film portrays Bourdain as both the hero and villain in his own story.
There has been some early backlash for the film as Neville used AI to have Bourdain's voice say dialogue that he never actually spoke. Some fans have a problem with this as they feel that it is disingenuous to the star and his friends and family. Some also have voiced that there should be enough dialogue in the countless footage of him so creating a couple of sentences with AI seems disrespectful.
Others disagree and believe that using Bourdain's voice made the quotes more powerful and that they were not out of the realm of things that he did say. The "possibility of happiness" consumed the star's life and this documentary gives just a peek into the food, travel, and everything else that he turned to in search of that happiness.
No matter how you feel about Bourdain or Neville, make sure to see the documentary that premiered this Friday, July 16th in theaters.
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