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Movie Monday: The Hundred-Foot Journey

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Directed by Lasse Hallström
Genre: Comedy-Drama
Running time: 122 minutes
Released: 2014
by Dreamworks Pictures

Hassan Kadam is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. When Hassan and his family, led by Papa, move to a quaint village in the South of France with the grand plan of opening an Indian restaurant in the picturesque countryside, they are undeterred by the fact that only 100 feet opposite stands a Michelin starred classical French eatery. However upon encountering the icy proprietress, Madame Mallory, the Kadam family realise they may have bitten off more than they can chew. Outraged by the new arrivals, Madame Mallory is determined to have their business shut down. As cultures clash and food flies, an all-out war escalates between the two establishments -- until, that is, Hassan's passion and talent for French cuisine begin to enchant Madame Mallory and even she can't deny this young chef could have what it takes to garner even more acclaim for her beloved restaurant. This, along with his new-found friendship with her beautiful sous chef Marguerite, starts to weave a magic between the two cultures and, despite their different tastes, they discover an unlikely recipe for success that surprises them all.

The Hundred-Foot Journey offers engaging characters, mouth-watering displays of food, and a simple message about finding happiness. While the film is predictable, these assets come together to give it a nice charm.

In The Hundred-Foot Journey, the Hassan Kadam and his family, are forced to flee their home in India when a mob burns down their restaurant. They move to a village in South France that apparently only has room for one restaurant, Le Saule Pleurer, which has forced all of its competition out of business. A war between the two restaurants breaks out and Hassan, the protagonist, is thrust into the spotlight of the world of French cuisine.

Hassan Kadam, while the head chef in his family’s Indian restaurant, actually wishes to learn French cooking. He, predictably, falls in love with Madame Mallory’s sous-chef Marguerite whose tips and French cookbooks aid him as he learns French cuisine. Throughout the film, Hassan goes through his own personal journey, starting with his family restaurant before his love for cooking leads him to greater heights. However, he comes to the realization that he is not truly happy with where he is and what he is doing and he returns to the place where he had experienced true happiness. While this plot is very typical of these kinds of films, I did enjoy how the film went full circle back to the beginning with the idea that food is an important part of our memories.

Helen Mirren portrays the uptight and regal Madame Mallory with perfection and she along with Om Puri, who portrays Papa, the bull-headed but sweet patriarch of the Kadam family, gave the film a natural and charming feel. The film’s screenplay was good except for a part towards the end when Hassan cooks in a restaurant in Paris, which felt bland and unnecessarily long.

Overall, while this film is no blockbuster or masterpiece, I found it very enjoyable. I recommend it to anyone looking for a good timewaster.

1 comment on "Movie Monday: The Hundred-Foot Journey"
  1. I love Helen Mirren, which means I'll definitely be watching this movie at some point. Your review confirms what I figured -- good but not outstanding.

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