Jon Favreau’s film Chef dramatizes a relationship between a father and a son. Favreau stars in the film as Carl Casper, the father of his teenage son, Percy, played by Emjay Anthony. Carl and Percy have a unique relationship and it demonstrates common dynamics between fathers and sons. Because of this, Carl and Percy’s relationship becomes a useful description and tool for exploring the dynamics of the father-son adventure.
The reader should be aware that this article contains spoilers.
Carl wants the freedom to pursue his culinary artistry and he quits his job as the head chef at a high-class restaurant in Los Angeles. He goes to Florida where he spends time with his son Percy. In Florida, Carl’s passion for Cuban food is reinvigorated and he decides to drive back to Los Angeles in a food truck, which will serve the stops along the way. When Percy asks if he can go, Carl lets him.
Percy wants to spend more time with his father so the opportunity to go on the cross-country adventure for the summer is a welcome change. Carl puts Percy to work on the food truck and Percy learns about his father’s passion, which brings them closer together.
Carl is also open to what Percy is bringing into the relationship and is willing reevaluate things based on what Percy thinks and feels. Carl takes no pride in being the one with the master plan, and is able to celebrate the changes that Percy initiates. For example, Percy, somewhat by default, promotes their business with social marketing like Twitter. Carl immediately recognizes the value of this and celebrates his son’s efforts.
Still, Carl holds the line on the values in which he believes, and goes to great efforts to try and help Percy understand the reasons why he believes in them. A good example of this is when Percy almost serves a burned sandwich to a customer and says that it doesn’t matter. Carl stops everything he is doing and, even with a line at the food truck, he takes his son aside for a chat. Carl tells Percy about his passion for cooking, how he gets to touch people’s lives with what he does. He tells Percy that he wants to share this part of himself with Percy, and says that Percy might learn to love it as he has. Percy is able to see the value that Carl is describing and he makes the correction. Carl recognized the moment and seized it as an opportunity to let Percy in and let his son see what kind of man he really is.
Carl’s attitude and actions address specific issues that Percy cares about. Percy wants to know his father. He wants to be a part of his father’s life. Percy wants to feel that what he does is valued by his father, and he wants to feel that he is loved. Carl’s interaction begins to provide answers for Percy, and this invigorates their relationship. This is why Carl is a good example of a father and why Carl and Percy’s relationship is in a constructive state by the end of the story.
Carl and Percy’s trip creates time and space away from the normative flow of life. Carl takes advantage of this time and space and is proactive in the relationship with his son. He uses the time to teach Percy. Carl invests his passion, joy, understanding, creativity, love, and convictions into Percy. He invests himself.
We at Christ in the Rockies believe that the time and space away from the normative way of things can be critical in the health and growth of the relationship between fathers and sons as it was for Carl and Percy. Carl’s proactive yet flexible way with Percy made good soil for the relationship to grow. If you would like to know more about the father-son-adventure opportunities with Christ in the Rockies, give us a call or email us. We would love to hear from you!