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The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) Reviewed By Jay

United States, 04 April 2014


Jay´s Review

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.

We see:

  • * Helen Mirren ("Red 2") Madam Mallory is the demanding restaurateur who is determined to earn a second Michelin star (a world-wide rating system for restaurants).
  • * Om Puri ("The Reluctant Fundamentalist") Papa Kadam is unwilling to knuckle under. Not only does he insist on his right to play his music (LOUD) in his establishment, he wants the freedom to barter the price of everything!
  • * Rohan Chand ("Bad Words") We meet darling Young Hassan Haji in the thriving family Mumbai restaurant. He already has finely tuned taste buds, so after that disastrous fire, he grows up to be...
  • * Manish Dayal ("Switched at Birth") Hassan Haji, the audacious son of that curmudgeon. He has had a knack for cooking all of his life and it just takes one omelet for Madam Mallory to see his potential.
  • * Charlotte Le Bon ("Mood Indigo") is the exquisite Marguerite, a sous chef in Madam Mallory's kitchen, with an ambition to do better. She is sweet and generous to a family that could use a little help.

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.

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