The Hundred-Foot Journey

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Director: Lasse Hallström

Writers: Steven Knight, Richard C. Morais

Cast: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon, Amit Shah, Farzana Dua Elahe, Dillon Mitra, Aria Pandya, Michel Blanc, Clément Sibony, Vincent Elbaz, Juhi Chawla, Alban Aumard, Shuna Lemoine, Antoine Blanquefort

Synopsis: The Kadam family clashes with Madame Mallory, proprietress of a celebrated French restaurant, after they open their own nearby eatery, until undeniable chemistry causes the Madame to take gifted young chef Hassan under her wing.

MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality

Stevennix2001's Rating:

8.6 / 10

Pros:

- Fairly decent story

- Well paced

- Cinematography was good

- Settings for the story were very nice

- Has some strong moments that make it memorable.

- Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon have some good chemistry together on screen.

Cons:


- The story was very predictable, and riddled with cliches

- The romance was rushed between Hassan and Marguerite

That it is what's called subtlety of flavor.....

When you see the trailers to "The Hundred-Foot Journey", you immediately get the impression that it's trying to be Oscar bait for 2015. While I'll admit that "The Hundred-Foot Journey" was very good film, I'd be lying to a lot of people if I said it was among one of the best of this year.

Based on the popular novel of the same name. "the Hundred-Foot Journey" tells the story of a talented young Indian cook named Hassan (Manish Dayal), who moves to Europe with his family. They build a nice Indian restaurant across the street from one of the most popular restaurants in France, a hundred feet to be exact.

From there, we see the two restaurants compete against each other. Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) and Papa (Om Puri) don't exactly play nice either Often resorting to childish and juvenile tactics like Papa turning up the music to annoy Madame Mallory. Or, one of them will buy up all the food in the market, so the other party won't have anything to serve in their restaurant. Heck, Madame Mallory even tries to get the Indian Restaurant condemned for allegedly having un-vaccinated chickens in the back; even though Papa actually did have the proper paperwork to prove otherwise.

Meanwhile, Hassan falls in love with one of Madame's chefs, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), as they form something of a forbidden romance together. As she helps teach him more about cooking over in Europe, the two grow to become quite close; in spite of the fact that they're working for opposing sides.

However, things change when one of Madame's employees tries to illegally burn the Indian restaurant to the ground, which forces both sides to form a truce. Through a series of events, Hassan agrees to undergo training within Madame's restaurant, as he dreams of becoming a great chef over in Europe.

Hassan eventually becomes so good that he earns the restaurant it's second star. According to the movie, food critics will often award one star to a restaurant each time it earns a positive review. If you earn two stars, then it puts your restaurant in elite company. To get three of them? Well, that would be considered an act of god so to speak.

Without giving away too much, Hassan's services are eventually taken to another restaurant in France; where instead of cooking out in the beautiful country hills, he climbs the corporate ladder to end up working for a major modernistic style restaurant.

Although it seems like he enjoys some modest success there, he still misses his family and friends back home. Wondering why the soul of the food doesn't taste as good, as it did back when things were simpler. At the new modernistic restaurant that he works at, they don't treat cooking like an art form. No, they prefer to think of it as an exact science. Whereas before, he was always taught to look for the passion and soul of the food he was making. Treating it more like an art from if you will.

"The Hundred-Foot Journey" is something of a modern fairy tale set in our world. The film does have it's strong moments where it comes off as clever, but "The Hundred-Foot Journey" isn't as great as it's advertised to be. Like most modern fairy tales told on the big screen, the movie succumbs to a lot of stereotypical Hollywood cliches to make it predictable. The romance was rather sweet, but the only problem is that it feels a bit rushed.

Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon don't get a lot of screen time together to flesh out their romance, so the audience is never able to feel the emotional weight of their love story; which is a crying shame considering they did have some good chemistry together.

Although "The Hundred-Foot Journey" is a feel good movie that I'm sure most audiences are going to love, the reality is that the film is essentially nothing more than a generic rags to riches love story; with a heavy emphasis on the message of "home being where the heart is." It's a sweet story that I would still recommend to a lot of people, but it's not as original as most critics make it out to be.

Definitely worth checking out in theaters, but I wouldn't expect too much out of it, in terms of originality.


© 2014 Steven Escareno

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