Dining at a restaurant is an experience that we all share universally and never quite appreciate how much time and effort goes into making it memorable and special. Spinning Plates is an interesting little doc that goes inside the day to day workings of the restaurant business, but does it a little too frenetically to make it truly unique.
Spinning Plates is a documentary about three extraordinary restaurants and the incredible people who make them what they are. We go inside a cutting-edge restaurant considered the seventh best in the world whose chef must battle a life-threatening obstacle to pursue his passion, a 150-year-old family restaurant still standing only because of the unbreakable bond with its community, and a fledgling Mexican restaurant whose owners are risking everything just to survive and provide for their young daughter.
Their unforgettable stories of family, legacy, passion and survival come together to reveal how meaningful food can be, and the power it has to connect us to one another.
In his second trip in the director’s chair writer/director Joseph Levy paints a wonderful picture behind the motivations and inspirations of these people, but it never connects. He jumps from story to story to story at such a lightening pace that you never have a chance to get invested in any of their stories until much later in the movie when things begin to slow down a little.
The passion these people have for being the best in the world, or simply sharing a little slice of home cooking with their respective neighborhoods is an inspiring and even admirable thing to watch. But rather than give us a full meal, Spinning Plates hits us with a variety of different appetizers that while tasty, never give us a sense of the entire experience.
Spinning Plates is playing exclusively at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto.
Rating: *** (out of 5 stars)