Anthony Bourdain’s film released in theaters celebrates his life and legacy. Photo courtesy of Flickr

Whitney Walmer
Associate Arts and Culture Editor

“Travel isn’t always pretty; you go away, you learn, you get scarred, marked and changed in the process it even breaks your heart.”- Anthony Bourdain.

Life and travel are alike in the way we evolve from our experiences, in good or bad. But, as Anthony Bourdain stated, you do learn, are scarred, and things aren’t sometimes the greatest, and sometimes there is just too much to take on. Although he had taken his own life on June 8, 2018, his legacy still lives on through his work’s impact on others. As a chef, a writer, a father, and a sponge, he absorbed what the world had to offer through his travels and days lived.

Morgan Neville produced “Roadrunner: A Film about Anthony Bourdain,” a documentary released July 16, 2021. This year marks three years since the tragic event of losing a fantastic chef, writer, and idol admired by many, including myself. 

Growing up, he was always someone that I admired and still do admire. As I had read his books and watched his shows, it was like I was being taken on those journeys with him through the storytelling and imagery that he weaves through unfiltered metaphors. But through it all, he seemed to be transparent, as he spoke of his past involving drugs and how he successfully got better, his culinary journey of how he got to be where he was in that present moment. 

Nevertheless, I was wrong; I didn’t know everything, and when I received the news from a friend about his passing, there were many questions that I didn’t have the answer to. 

Unlike many documentaries, the vocal of point or man of the hour is not usually the one narrating or telling their story for what it was. But, unaware of the AI software used to give the storytelling and tell-it-all feel, I found there to be no difference as if it was him sharing his memories with myself and the others around me in the theater.

There were clips of Bourdain through the last half of his life, starting from releasing his first novel “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” until the end of his life. The telling of his marriages and events that had occurred through his life not directly leading to his success would be apparent, as the love for his daughter and family.

A portrayal of Bourdain had barely left any stones unturned; there were parts that I didn’t necessarily care for. 

Understanding that his relationship with Asia Argento had been his last girlfriend and that he cared for her deeply makes me wonder why she was not included in the interviews. As she is a #MeToo activist, it makes me wonder if there was just careful discussion making to relay the wrong message. 

But with the interviews of those whose hearts he had touched, it seemed that we were getting to know him even years later. Through the interviews and events in the film, a switch almost went off that seemed to change Bourdain’s attitude and behavior; it was a shame that it wasn’t noticed sooner. As his happiness seemed to slip away, there was still a smiling face or destination that needed to be explored. The pain in his eyes had seemed to grow and linger, and eventually, his life came to an end with a remaining curiosity of why.