Several recent films have dealt with chefs and cooking, mirroring the plethora of popular kitchen-based small-screen fare. Thankfully big screen foodies have been far more palatable.
Exploring how food binds cultures, The Hundred-Foot Journey is a fine cinematic delicacy. Based on a novel by Richard C. Morais, it should appeal to anyone interested in an assortment of culinary delights.
After leaving their home in India, chef Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) and his family settle in France. Moving to a small village, his brood set up a family-run Indian restaurant. Trouble brews from a French restaurant directly opposite, run by the icy Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). Determined to ruin this new interloper, Mallory stops at nothing to achieve her goal. What follows is a clash of wills bringing unexpected changes to their lives and delectable pallets.
The Hundred-Foot Journey is a cinematic version of comfort-food. Safe, slightly predictable, but full of warmth, it doesn’t particularly break new ground. What it does is entertain in a consistently amusing manner with top quality performances. Exploring issues of culture, family and maintaining creative passion is expertly handled by Director Lasse Hallstrom. An old hand at this type of light, character-driven drama, Hallstrom makes the most out of a story full of charm and genuine whimsy.
None of this would matter unless if the performances weren’t up to scratch. Along with her co-stars, Mirren conveys many intriguing layers to her potentially one-dimensional role. They are well served by the beautiful scenery and displays of very mouth-watering food. Budding chefs may learn a thing or two as the visual delights match the enjoyable screenplay.
A very pleasurable experience, The Hundred-Foot Journey should make the book’s fans happy. Engaging to its final frame it proves the language of good food is something we can all share, no matter our background.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 8