Abe Review – A Feel Good Foodie Film For All Ages

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Abe, from Blue Fox Entertainment and Breaking Glass Pictures, presents the story of an aspiring twelve-year-old Brooklyn chef, his deeply divided family, their love of food, and the choice to think outside the box to save them from themselves.

Directed by Fernando Grostein Andrade, Abe stars Noah Schnapp, Seu Jorge, Dagmara Dominczyk, Arian Moayed, Mark Margolis, Tom Mardirosian, Salem Murphy, and Daniel Oreskes.

Abe begins with voice over by Abe, played by Noah Schnapp, who explains his existence so far. A boy from Brooklyn, New York, his father Amir, played by Arian Moayed, is Muslim and mother, Rebecca, played by Dagmara Dominczyk, is Jewish. He explains the choices which draw kids today, money, cloths, selfies, for him, he found a passion in food.

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Which is where we begin to see the budding chef, today Abe’s extended family is coming over for dinner, Benjamin, played by Mark Margolis, Ari, played by Daniel Oreskes, Salim, played by Tom Mardirosian, his wife Aida, played by Salem Murphy.

At every dinner scene the kitchen table becomes a battleground of cultural differences, historical battles and religious rules and regulations, each meaningful to the next and all pushed onto Abe like fermented vegetables and told they are delicious, healthy, and good.

Absorbed in the expansive Brooklyn food culture with street fairs and food festivals the city streets are unique and unlike anywhere in the world and Abe feels safe wondering his Brooklyn neighborhood, one night he makes his way to a food festival, and a food fusion booth catches his attention.

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The street chef, Chico, played by Seu Jorge, a West Indies African with a Puerto Rican name, takes pity on him and offers him a dish of his cooking. The taste causes a flavor pop and immediately Abe wanted to understand more about fusing food combinations.

So, his parents enroll him in a Foodie Summer camp. Abe decides after a few minutes that this isn’t for him and cuts out and makes his way to Chico’s Mix it Up kitchen’s and asks him to teach him. Chico has an old schools style approach, until he can learn the ropes of the kitchen, he does the dishes and takes out the trash.

If he is willing and continues every day, then he wants to learn. Slowly, even through the stacks of dishes, Abe is happy. Soon he moves up to food prep. Not long after, Chico gives him a set of keys to prep the kitchen every morning before he and his staff arrive.

Alas, even as it is really going well for Abe, he lied every day to his parents, who catch him as they arrive to pick him up from the foodie summer camp only to find that he has never attended. Needless to say, he is grounded with a capital "G." Nothing until, no electronics, computer, phone, nothing until school begins in September.

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While all this is happening, Abe is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah and trying to keep the peace between both sets of grandparents. The stress of fifteen years of moderating the cultural differences between the Muslim’s and Jews finally takes its toll and his parents separate. Abe’s world appears to be falling apart until he has one last brilliant idea to invite all to a thanksgiving dinner, creating the menu and cooking the dishes each with symbolic cultural meanings.

As his parents are separating, the grandparents warring, the families just unable to see what the constant subtle jabs, denigrating the other’s heritage is doing to their son, the dinner erupts again. This time Abe, invisible by all against the arguing, runs out of the house.

This is where the heart of the film shines through. Abe is a sincere story of fusion, in family, food, diversity in cultures and it is presented through the eyes of an adolescent.

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The cast presented authentic performances so much so that it was at times a challenge as the scene created a genuine reaction. Abe is more than a film about finding one’s passion. It is about the differences that alienate and even with a common bond, children, the generational hate, which in this case is religion, boils over into every aspect.

The film also showcases Brooklyn’s diverse culture of food offerings, and life in the borough that many around the world will never see. Abe is a 21st century teen film, filled with social media, and all the platforms available, expanded social networks, and finding those who are experiencing similar circumstances the online culture.

Abe is coming to DVD and streaming June 2, 2020. It is a heartwarming, feel good, foodie film. A must see.

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