When a film is in the capable hands of Swedish director Lasse Hallström ("Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" and "Chocolat") we can sit back, relax, and enjoy the show, based on a novel by Richard C. Morais and produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey. After an agitated beginning in which the mother is burned to death in an attack by vandals in Mumbai, we end up with her surviving family in a bucolic countryside in the south of France where we know we will enjoy a (sorta predictable) happy ending.
To add to our enjoyment, Helen Mirren gets to play a snooty dame! Located in Tarn-et-Garonne, France, she has a classic one-star Michelin restaurant right across the street (only 100 feet) from that upstart, family-run Indian establishment... Immigrants, no less...! After starting off on the wrong foot, things go from bad to worse, as the two irascible proprietors sabotage each other at every turn: One will buy up all the necessary ingredients from the local market that the other needs for that night's menu.
In this PG-rated dramedy, expect no gunshots, no sweaty bodies, little or no profanity and no vehicular mayhem. The most violent thing is the fire at the beginning. Of course this is a feel-good film, so everyone has to learn a lesson or two, cultures must quit clashing, recipes must be blended and customers must be fed. The screening crowd applauded this one.