The Stephen Graham film Boiling Point was a contender for BAFTA’s
Viewers will find Graham’s character Andy Jones much changed as the new four-part series kicks off on Sunday, October 01, 2023. Those who watched the original film will remember the head chef managing his restaurant Jones & Sons on the busiest day of the year.
So what happened to the upmarket restaurant in London after that fateful day? And how did the film end? Here’s a plot recap of the Stephen Graham film Boiling Point…
***Warning: spoilers from the Stephen Graham film Boiling Point ahead***
What is the Stephen Graham film Boiling Point about?
The Philip Barantini-directed film stars Line of Duty favourite Stephen Graham as head chef Andy Jones. The movie, an expansion of a 2019 short film of the same name, was a pressure-cooker drama which totally lived up to its title. The restaurant kitchen environment felt even more intense as a result of it being a one-shot film. Basically, you needed a valium before, during, and after watching.
Viewers met Andy after he discovered that his restaurant had been downgraded from a 5 star Health and Safety rating to 3 stars following an inspection. With no time to regroup, the staff then faced an overbooked evening service. Diners included celebrity chef Alastair Skye, for whom Andy previously worked, and his guest for the evening, a known food critic. No pressure, then!
The next 90 minutes was tense, and often painful-to-watch, as the evening began to unravel. The single-shot approach was perfect for the fast-paced real time effect. The film wanted you to feel anxious. You were there. You were part of the team. And, quite frankly, very relieved when it ended.
What’s the plot about?
The plot, if it can be called that, followed an evening service at the frenetic restaurant, as Andy Jones attempted to please everyone, but ended up pleasing no one.
During dinner service, conflict began to brew in the kitchen and dining room. A black waitress was treated badly by an aggressive guest, while a young pastry chef was revealed to be self-harming. Meanwhile front of house Beth micromanaged her way into Carly’s bad books when she asked chef Carly (Vinette Robinson) to go off-menu by preparing steak and chips to appease a group of “influencer” guests. Later, after a row over undercooked lamb, Beth retreated to the toilets where she burst into tears and questioned whether she could stand the heat of the kitchen.
The real tension came from Andy, who served his former boss Alastair’s table… And viewers learnt that Andy owed him £200,000. Ouch. Andy explained that he didn’t have the money to pay him back. To which Alistair made a counteroffer – to work together again and to split Andy’s 30% ownership of the restaurant with him. Double ouch.
In heart-palpitating scenes, a guest suffered a severe allergic reaction – and Andy was almost definitely the cause after instructing new French chef Camille to use a bottle containing walnut oil as a substitute garnish. An argument broke out, in which chef Freeman – former EastEnders actor Ray Panthaki – called Andy out for his constant lateness and mistakes as well as his apparent alcoholism.
What happened to Stephen Graham’s character in Boiling Point the film?
Towards the end of the short but super-stressful film, Andy revealed to Carly that Alastair wanted him to lay the blame on her for the allergic reaction. A furious Carly quit, leaving Andy alone in his office. We saw him drinking vodka and snorting cocaine. He made an impassioned phone call to his ex-wife. He insisted he would go to rehab and be a better father to their son.
However, despite his best intentions, Andy collapsed. The film ended with the voices of Andy’s staff calling his name… Viewers were left wondering if the pressures of the evening had caused a fatality. All is revealed in the new BBC One four-part series, which picks up several months after the film.
Is Andy Jones alive in the TV series Boiling Point?
Firstly, the TV series picks up about six months after Andy’s collapse. He’s a broken man. A scar down his chest suggests he’s had open-heart surgery. But that hasn’t stopped him drinking and eating junk food. Clearly depressed, he’s no longer working, and harbours much resentment towards his former co-workers.
Carly, who was the sous chef for Jones & Sons, is now the head chef and co-owner of her brand-new restaurant called Point North. And she’s brought most of the team from Jones & Sons with her.
However, we soon discover that she is facing the same problems her predecessor encountered – a stressful workplace, a troubled personal life, and lack of funds. Time for more valium!
Boiling Point: What did the critics say?
Digital Spy were big fans of Boiling Point, saying: “It’s a compelling and exhausting 90 minutes that barely gives you a moment to breathe, although it will also make you feel very hungry looking at the dishes served up. Things culminate in a heated argument and an ambiguous final shot.”
Mark Kermode, giving the movie four stars for The Guardian, said: “Audaciously filmed in a single take, Philip Barantini’s low-budget drama serves up a brilliant performance from Graham as a chef on the edge.”
The Independent‘s Clarisse Loughrey, also awarding four stars, said: “The film is always on the move, and yet somehow oppressively claustrophobic, as the tension gradually builds to the point of no return suggested by its title.”
Charlotte O’Sullivan of the Evening Standard also gave Boiling Point four stars, saying: “Some films leave you fed up. This one leaves you feeling well fed. Bon appétit.”
Boiling Point starts on Sunday, October 1, 2023 at 9pm on BBC One.
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