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.
The Hundred-Foot Journey seems to have a common narrative in the beginning but slowly transforms into something more. What starts as a simple family tale slowly becomes a captivating infusion of family, culture, and cuisine.
On the surface, The Hundred-Foot Journey could be taken as a “rags to riches” story but it takes a fully engaged individual to appreciate the relationship between food and character development. Much like the director’s previous film “Chocolat,” “The Hundred-Foot Journey” uses food as a means to convey emotion. Every flavor and dish seemed to correlate with the mood and tone of the characters as the film progressed. While many films have attempted to represent the passion associated with cooking, “The Hundred-Foot Journey” successfully represents that passion through its cinematography, characters, and story.
The passion of cooking could not have been conveyed so well without the performances from the actors involved. Helen Mirren is rigid and commanding in her role as Madame Mallory but carries a pleasant level of respect in the role. Mimicking her real life persona, she plays both beauty and beast acting as both opposition and aspiration for the main character Hassan. Om Puri (Hassan’s Father) is the comic relief as well as the link to the bits of Indian culture present throughout the film. He complements Mirren’s character with a performance that is heartfelt yet stern which also depicts a pleasant representation of Indian culture.
Hassan (Manish Dayal) and Margueritte (Charlotte Le Bon) share a common interest in culinary arts. Their characters are more like the personification of the food they create rather than any type of conventional relationship. With that being said, their performances are adequate but given the theme of the film (cooking) they are heavily overshadowed by the cuisine they produce.
This is a film that you must be fully engaged in to enjoy. If you are not prepared to get to know these characters for two hours then this may not be the film for you. I thoroughly enjoyed it due to the intrigue of the characters and the meticulous camera work that captured every detail of creating each food dish. Besides the underlying, culinary theme the setting is quiet and quaint and outside of character development and theme, there isn’t much excitement to be had.
Overall I was extremely pleased with this film. The characters were intriguing, the story was heartwarming, and the theme was insatiable. Many think that you can’t make an interesting PG rated film but “The Hundred-Foot Journey” is proof that it can be done.
The Hundred-Foot Journey – 7.5 out of 10
Pleasant but may be an acquired taste for some…