Written By: Dawn Rich, Jason Wolos
Starring: Tony Denison, John Patrick Amedori, Kandis Erickson, Lisa Rotondi
Sal Sartini (Denison) is a chef who has opened a new restaurant in San Francisco, alongside his wife Cecelia (Rotondi). As a chef, Sal is gifted, but also a difficult taskmaster. A lifelong workaholic, he expects nothing less than excellence from himself and his staff. Sal is practically obsessed with the success of his new restaurant, stressing out at the very idea of bad reviews or being left off of respected lists.
Sal’s estranged son Vincent (Amedori) comes to town to work at the new restaurant and try to make up for some lost time with his father in the process. Sal is happy to have an extra hand around, but he doesn’t treat his son with too much warmth. Like many driven people, he has always elected to let his personal life suffer in favor of succeeding in his professional life, and his skills as a parent are not nearly as strong as his skills in the kitchen.
Not long after Vincent joins the staff, the restaurant is visited by a well-respected food critic. When Sal realizes just who the critic is, he becomes more and more stressed out and eventually reaches the point of a full-fledged panic attack. After consulting a doctor, Sal returns to the restaurant on newly-prescribed medication, but his tendency to micromanage and control remains as strong as it ever was.
Vince becomes close to Anna (Erickson), a pretty and charming waitress who has worked for Sal for years, and she encourages him to try to achieve more in the restaurant than just being the dishwasher. Vince decides to try cooking out for himself and turns out to be a natural, even impressing Anna with some old family recipes. However, Sal is skeptical that his son is truly passionate about cooking and isn’t just going through a phase, and is reluctant to train him, since he thinks it would end up being a waste of time.
Trattoria is a very well-photographed film, and the camera crew impresses with their consistent level of skill. They do an especially good job photographing the food. The viewer shouldn’t watch this film with an empty stomach, because otherwise they’ll end up feeling hungry after seeing such delicious-looking food throughout the whole movie. It’s a great choice for foodies.
Unfortunately, the rest of the film isn’t quite as appetizing. The story is very bland, and seasoned cinephiles will now exactly where the plot will be leading within the first few scenes, and the execution doesn’t bring anything new, interesting, or exciting to the table. Most of the actors do the best they can with what they have, and there’s some scenes which work better than others, but there’s nothing truly unique.
Ultimately, the film Trattoria is a dish that isn’t particularly remarkable or memorable, and is unlikely to inspire many viewers to taste it again. If it were to play on television during the middle of the day, it seems doubtful that it would achieve high ratings.