Hunger is a captivating drama, saturated with tension while exploring humans’ cravings for perfection.
We review the 2023 Thai Netflix film Hunger, which does not contain spoilers.
Directed by Sitisiri Mongkolsiri, Netflix’s Thai drama Hunger is the newest film to explore the culinary arts niche. And even among elite movies of the same subject, such as 2022’s The Menu, and 2021’s Pig, the film still manages to make its mark.
Hunger (2023) Review and Plot Summary
Aoy (Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying) works at her family’s Thai restaurant. Her life is forever changed when a man who believes her talent is wasted working at the small noodle shop visits.
He is impressed by her cooking abilities and invites her to try out as a chef for Hunger, a culinary business run by Paul (Nopachai Chaiyanam), one of the most sought-after chefs in the country.
He spends his days with his team cooking lavish meals for the rich, particularly celebrities.
But after Aoy becomes an employee, she realizes not everything is what it’s cracked up to be, with Paul pushing workers to their limits and doing whatever it takes to remain the best.
Aoy’s experience working at Hunger is one that many viewers can relate to when dealing with an overbearing boss who uses bullying tactics to push the success of his employees.
On the one hand, Chef Paul wants those training beneath him to become the best and to succeed, but once they have reached his level, he fears their talent will overshadow his own.
A theme in the film that hits home is social status divides. The poor, as Chef Paul points out, “eat to satisfy hunger,” whereas the wealthy have the money to splurge on expensive meals, allowing them to continuously indulge, so their hunger never ends.
Aoy’s journey and character development throughout the film is captivating and a joy to watch. She starts as a timid woman eager to please Chef Paul, tolerating the toxic work environment to prove herself, but by the end, she is self-aware and no longer intimidated by him.
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I won’t go as far as to say she becomes him because she still holds a moral compass, though, by the film’s close, his obsession for perfection has undoubtedly rubbed off on her.
Chuengcharoensukying is incredibly cast for the role of Aoy, selling the frustration of someone trying to perfect their craft while eager for reassurance and recognition from their teacher.
But the most enjoyable part of the film is the performance of Jayanama, who, as Chef Paul, is as menacing as he is inviting, and whenever on-screen, he completely steals the show.
Credit must be given to Mongkolsiri, who does an impeccable job of building tension, especially in the scenes between Chef Paul and Aoy.
Close-up camera work reflects the pressure Aoy feels each time Chef Paul has her take on a task, and even when other characters are in the room, you can’t focus on anything else.
The most potent message reflected in the film is how the grass may not always be greener, and though returning to the simplicity and comfort of your former life might be the safe option, it also might be the one that makes you the happiest.
Is the 2023 film Hunger good or bad?
Hunger is a great film with interesting characters and an enthralling cat-and-mouse dynamic between Aoy and Chef Paul.
Things do turn a bit cartoonish in certain moments during the third act, but it still gets my stamp of approval.
Is the 2023 film Hunger worth watching?
Hunger is a notable addition to the foodie film world and is worth watching.
The tension will have you on the edge of your seat with accurate and relatable explorations of a toxic work environment, divides in social status, and humans’ obsession with perfection.
What did you think of the 2023 Thai Netflix film Hunger? Comment below.