Roadrunner is an absolutely beautiful documentary. It touches your soul! It touches your humanity and it’s rawest emotions. Not limited to feeling emotions, Roadrunner makes you feel like a friend of Anthony’s. Above all, Roadrunner sheds light on a person, a human, who lived in the limelight as a celebrity chef and show host, but also as a father, a husband, a friend and a brother. So, if you’re a person the least bit capable of emotions, compassion, empathy, love and sympathy be forewarned, you will shed a tear or more at least once during this film. Anthony’s story, as you may know, does not have a happy ending.
I went into this documentary not knowing much about Anthony Bourdain, admittedly, aside from the fact that he was a renowned chef who, not too long ago, passed away by suicide. Roadrunner brings you along for the thrilling ride that is Anthony’s rise to stardom, to family, love, political activism and, sadly, his death. The film does it in a way that makes you feel like you’re one of Anthony’s personal friends, one of his crew – whether it’s in the kitchen or the camera crew. With Anthony “narrating” his own documentary, an amazing soundtrack that fits so properly and further drives home every scene’s intended emotions, Roadrunner does an amazing job at not just breaking your heart but enriching your life – blessing you with documented footage of this man’s charming smile and personality, his ability to talk to and positively influence others, showing you his drive and want for improvement of the human condition through his love of travel and food all captured on camera. You get to know the man and the legacy that was, and is, Anthony Bourdain.
I couldn’t help but to find myself cheering Anthony on, wanting him to succeed and achieve the level of happiness, love and fulfillment that he seemed to constantly always be in search of all the way throughout the whole film, up until the very end of it – with the gut wrenching, heartbreaking, soul crushing truth that we have all come to know and feel.
Roadrunner makes you feel it, whether you knew Anthony Bourdain or not, you feel and share in the pain of his loss. I just can’t help but say to myself, “All the signs were there! Why didn’t anyone say or do anything?! Why didn’t anyone help him?”
Not only does Roadrunner do a phenomenal job at showing us who Anthony was as a human being, Roadrunner subtly, but appropriately, sheds light on mental health and drives home the message of suicide awareness through Anthony’s story. As I mentioned before, I found myself noticing the signs early on throughout the film and pointing out “Hey, did you catch that? That’s a warning sign! Why aren’t you doing or saying anything about that?” Which may likely have been a goal of the film’s: suicide awareness via Anthony’s story. Roadrunner certainly is a thought provoking piece of art that makes you ask questions, makes you reflect and think about things, then ask more questions!
If you don’t get anything out of watching Roadrunner, you should at least get the following message out of it that is, “You need to know you are not alone.” If you’ve ever lost someone to suicide, this film may re-open old wounds, as it did for me, but serves as a proper reminder of an unseen dark internal struggle that so many of our people deal with on a day-to- day basis and provides us with a much needed nudge that tells us, “If you’re feeling some type of way, even if it’s the slightest hint of self-harm – say something to someone. Anyone! Please!” But also reminds us that, “Hey, if someone says something, even jokingly, hinting at self-harm, don’t be afraid to ask them ‘hey, how are you?’”
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain comes to theaters on July 16th. In the meantime, if you or a loved one needs help, please, do not hesitate to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.