I’m a huge fan of culinary movies, though the offerings are usually slim. That’s why I decided to check out one set in the south of France, which is the ideal place for a culinary based movie.
In “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” we meet Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) along with the entire Kadam family. Led by Papa (Om Puri), the family settles in a quaint village and opens their restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. Everything is going swimmingly until the snooty owner of Le Saule Pleureur, Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), learns of the new establishment and starts a war. Complicating matters is Mallory’s souse chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), who is starting her own flirtation with Hassan
This is a cute movie. Instant classic? Probably not, but it’s good enough for first date fodder, if you want to show everyone how cute and sensitive you are. We get to see a lot of cooking, for you food porn enthusiasts, and the story is a familiar one, though comfortably familiar. We have the up and coming chef butting heads with the established cooking superstar, sparks fly and then yada, yada, yada… happily ever after.
There are no surprises with this movie. It’s comfort food, but it’s good comfort food. My biggest gripe is with the pacing. The movie plods in the beginning but then moves too quickly to the conclusion. It’s like the screenwriter realized they were running out of time to get the final draft in and did a rush job.
But it’s still watchable. The acting is fantastic, the dialog is cute, though sometimes hokey (i.e. food is memories), but the culture clash was interesting and it was a unique mix. In fact, it’s the unique twists to this movie that keep it from being a cliché. I don’t know if the roll of Madame. Mallory was specifically adapted for Helen Mirren, or if she just made it her own, but it seems like it was written for her.
And where has Manish Dayal been all my life? I really hope this is the start of a lot of new rolls for him, because he’s just plain fun to watch. He tackled the roll of Hassid with enthusiasm and I’d dare to say that his portrayal is going to be this relative newbie’s break through roll.
It’s got a lot of charm, is the perfect date movie and is a fantastic break from this summer’s cycle after cycle of big budget action blockbusters. It’s a relaxing movie where you don’t have to think too hard, but you still feel clever for attending.
Is it a bit overly sweet at times? Yes, I’ll agree that the sweetness turns downright sappy occasionally, but for the most part, it’s a welcome change. Frankly, I’m exhausted from all the action this summer. For once, I didn’t want to see something that makes my heart pound.
The Hundred Foot Journey, for all its clichés, is a rare treat this summer and one that is well worth the trip to the theater.
WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!
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