The Documentary Fans Need To See For Closure On A Tragic Celebrity Death

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Updated

I think the world stood still for a moment upon hearing of the death by suicide of Anthony Bourdain. He had become a much-beloved figure, the likes of which is extremely rare among celebrity circles these days. For those who want answers, or at least some kind of closure, if you haven’t watched the Anthony Bourdain story as depicted by the documentary Roadrunner on Max, you’re leaving a piece of the puzzle off the board. 

A Different Side Of Anthony Bourdain

anthony bourdain

We see a new side of Anthony Bourdain in the documentary Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain. The film, which premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, follows the life and death of Bourdain, giving us a history that goes back to his happy childhood in New York and New Jersey, where he was raised by French and Jewish parents. We learn that, as he said, he had nothing to complain about, no absence of love, no divorced parents, only, perhaps, too much supervision. 

Behind The Scenes Of His Award-Winning Shows

anthony bourdain

Anthony Bourdain is raw and unadulterated in Roadrunner. We go behind the scenes of his popular travel shows — A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, The Layover, and Parts Unknown — during which we see him traveling around the world, mixing it up with the people in small towns and villages while trying local cuisine. While part of his television career includes him eating things that would gross most of us out, none of his shows were about that and, instead, went much deeper. 

Explore The Life Of The Famous Chef

As we follow Anthony Bourdain’s path in Roadrunner, we see what made up most of his life, from his childhood to his death, was passion. He was someone who felt things incredibly deeply; he was spontaneous and impulsive, and he had a dark side.

Something about learning about people like Bourdain makes you wonder if something might be missing in you. “Why don’t I feel things this intensely?” You wonder aloud as you sit on your couch eating potato chips. 

Interviews Reveal How Friends And Co-Workers Felt About Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain is one of those people in the world who shows us a different way of living life and makes us want to emulate at least a bit of it. Roadrunner makes this clear. In interviews with chefs with whom he’s worked and with his friends and coworkers, you understand that Bourdain was a magnetic figure. People not only loved him, but they also loved to be around him.

The Tragic End

We get to know Anthony Bourdain, the husband, throughout Roadrunner and learn he was married to his high school sweetheart for two decades and to his next wife for another decade.

His ex-wives appear in film footage that shows them speaking fondly and longingly of his big personality and his depth of emotion. Perhaps the only problem with the film is that it tries to give us a reason for Bourdain’s eventual suicide on June 8, 2018. 

Overly Simplifies A Complex Topic

Suicide is rarely simple, and with someone as impassioned and empowered as Bourdain, it feels overly simplistic to imagine that this man, who had no illicit drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of his death, hung himself after seeing his girlfriend in a tabloid with another man. Yet, this is what seems to be implied about Anthony Bourdain in Roadrunner

Streaming On Max


In any event, it is worth watching Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain on Max just to catch final glimpses of Bourdain because his true fans would have kept streaming his shows and reading his books and articles as long as he would produce them for us. While I give Anthony Bourdain as many stars as I can grab from the sky, the documentary falters slightly just because it tried to wrap up his death in overly simplistic terms.