Toast review (DVD)

There's nothing quite like a hot piece of toast, spread thickly with butter, to comfort and calm you. Unfortunately this slice of Toast has gone a bit flabby and someone's been very mean with the marg.

It's the TV adaptation of Nigel Slater's bestselling memoir about his childhood in 1960s Wolverhampton. Nigel's life is pretty nice, he's the cossetted son of a stay-at-home mother and a successful father. The only downside is his Mum can't cook and the family often ends up with toast for tea. But then tragedy strikes and Nigel's Mum dies. As he and his stoic father attempt to adapt to the huge gap in their life, the brassy Mrs Potter arrives to clean the house and slowly worm her way into Nigel's Dad's heart. But to Nigel, she's the devil incarnate.

As Nigel attempts to deal with this new interloper in his family, and his own burgeoning sexuality (he's in love with the family gardener), he realises the fastest way to a man's heart is through his stoumach and thus a battle for control of the house and Mr Slater senior begins. Nigel's problem is that Mrs Potter is an ace cook so he decides to enrol in Domestic Science classes at school, no mean feat back in the 60s.

The story's fine, the production values are particularly good, the food looks lovely, but it still left me rather cold. Maybe it's because none of the lead characters are particularly likeable. Freddie Highmore doesn't even appear on screen until a good half way through the film so he can't really be blamed. HBC and Stott do well with what they're given it just failed to connect with me somehow.

Interestingly, the press info tells me it's the "perfect gift for Mothers' Day". Yes, here you go Mum, a film about a boy whose mother dies and he hates his step-mum. Nice!


Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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