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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Hard work can help you reach certain professional goals, but you may lose everything else that matters in that narrow pursuit. Mistakes are OK if you learn from them. There's satisfaction in working hard to fulfill a goal. Employees should be respectful and take pride in their work.
Positive Role Models
Jake is an arrogant perfectionist who sets high standards for himself and rudely demands as much from those who work with him. He's both inspirational and difficult to work with. His wife and partner laments his short temper but supports him. He's a perpetual learner who wants to improve the experience for those patrons who support fine dining. A young, irresponsible employee walks out of work one day because he "didn't feel appreciated."
Violence & Scariness
Jake loses his temper with his underlings. Three of Jake and his wife's four parents die during the operation of their restaurant.
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"F--k," "s--t," "ass," and "suck."
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Products & Purchases
Jake speaks of the importance of cooking every meal in his restaurant himself. He reasons that when people pay $185 for a dinner, it should be cooked by the chef who created the dish, not someone who works in the kitchen and learned to do the recipe.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A person speaks of going to AA to curtail his excessive drinking. Adults drink alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that 42 Grams is a documentary about a chef/food artist who started off running an illegal restaurant out of his home before becoming a culinary star. Jake Bickelhaupt has little patience for anything less than the best, so he lets loose with choice language, including "f--k" and "s--t" when he's displeased. But it's that combination of perfectionism, mania, and impatience that makes him both a fascinating and frustrating protagonist of this story about his Chicago restaurant that shares the film's title. Alcoholism is mentioned and adults drink champagne, beer, and liquor. His wife's mother needs hospice care, and three of Jake and and his wife's four parents die during the operation of their restaurant. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This documentary is a fascinating look at a chef's creative process and the grit, grueling hard work, and determination necessary to create a restaurant that reflects an artist's culinary sensibility. This is a rarefied world closed to all but those who can afford such pricey fare, and the issue of Jake's admitted alcohol problem is glossed over perhaps a bit too tidily. But more germane is the fact that director Newell uses jump cuts, side-by-side screens, sped-up timing, and close camera work to aptly give us a sampling of the passionate and seemingly delicious work Jake does. It's as if close-ups are meant to add the missing ingredient cinema can never capture, a hint of how these dishes actually taste. His cinematic compositions mimic and represent the bold, self-conscious, colorful, sculptural combinations Jake arranges on raku pottery plates and in wooden amoeba-shaped bowls.
And neither Jake nor the director prettify Jake's flawed character. By the time the divorce is announced in elegant typeface at the end of 42 Grams, no close viewer will be surprised that Jake and Alexa couldn't make their marriage work. In fact, beneath the celebration of Jake's creativity, there's an unstated sense throughout of impending doom, that Jake's explosive temper will do irreparable harm to himself or others, or that positive feedback might ruin him rather than make him strive to be better. In all, a viewer is left sympathetically wondering what happens next to Jake and Alexa.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.