Pressure Cooker
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Fighting to overcome the challenges of broken homes, abusive pasts, and financial burdens, three inner-city seniors at Philadelphia's Frankford High School find an unlikely champion in the kitchen of Wilma Stephenson. A legend in the school system, Mrs. Stephenson is a force to be reckoned with, and her boot camp method of teaching Culinary Arts is not for the faint of heart. Under her fierce direction, the usual distractions of high school-the cheerleading practices, football games, and school dances-are swept aside as the students focus on preparing for a citywide cooking competition for… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The movie's sense of inspiration is realistic. It never implies a future of glamour, only hard-won success."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"If the filmmakers do little to expand the vocabulary of the genre, they enhance our appreciation of that most undervalued sector of the American workforce, the city schoolteacher."
‑ Jan Stuart, Washington Post
"Inspiring cooking-themed docu is great for teens."
‑ Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
"These stories move and inspire as tales of youth in need cooking up opportunity from scratch."
‑ Matt Pais,
"Neither the filmmakers nor the students-nor, for that matter, Stephenson-are fishing for sympathy. What they really want most is to give back-to provide nourishment, literal and figurative, to those who have so generously helped nourish them."
‑ Wade Major, Boxoffice Magazine
"An earnest crowd-pleaser that could have used an extra helping of dramatic tension -- but it succeeds by placing us in an interesting world with characters who are impossible not to root for."
‑ David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle
"Pressure Cooker is not about pressure so much as clarity of purpose. It's about a unique teacher's way of building confidence and pride, with results that joyously speak for themselves."
‑ Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times
"By the end, you won't need to slice onions to get the tear ducts working."
‑ Peter Keough, Boston Phoenix
"High school teacher Wilma Stephenson nourishes her culinary arts students in their hungry bids for better lives. An inspiration, 'Pressure Cooker' is a welcome antithesis to slice and dice."
‑ Jennifer Merin,
"An engaging, uplifting, well-edited and occasionally suspenseful documentary that leaves you hungry for more insight into the lives of the culinary arts students and their Judge Judy-like teacher."
‑ Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
"Wilma Stephenson...definitely deserves a subtler cinematic testament than this lazily inspirational documentary."
‑ Cliff Doerksen, Chicago Reader
"A heart-grabbing, awe-inspiring work that needs no embellishment."
‑ Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
"I grew a deep hunger while watching Pressure Cooker, not just from the students' mouthwatering dishes, but from the fact that teacher/chef Wilma Stephenson could uniformly inspire such success."
‑ Matthew Sorrento, Film Threat
"It's convincing because of the force of Wilma Stephenson's personality and the fierce love she bestows on her culinary arts students at Philadelphia's Frankford High School."
‑ Robert Levin, Critic's Notebook
"A fitting tribute to a selfless role model with an big heart and an indomitable spirit. Let's face it, they don't make 'em like Wilma Stephenson anymore."
‑ Kam Williams, NewsBlaze
More reviews for Pressure Cooker on Rotten Tomatoes

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