The Hundred-Foot Journey

"Very Good"

The Hundred-Foot Journey Review


A relentlessly smiley-glowy tone threatens to undo this film at every turn, but it's just about rescued by a spiky script and the adept cast. Director Lasse Hallstrom has been indulging in warm-fuzzy filmmaking since 2000's Chocolat, and this story (based on the Richard Morais book) seems set in the same fanciful, far too-cute France, created with digital effects rather than cinematography. Nothing is remotely realistic, but the characters are engaging and the food looks absolutely delicious. This is definitely not a film to see on an empty stomach.

The central character is Hassan (90210's Manish Dayal), who was born in India and developed his prodigious gift as a chef with his late mother. Now refugees in Europe, Hassan's Papa (Om Puri) is on a quest to establish a restaurant with his five children. They settle on an impossibly quaint French village, and set up their Indian eatery just across the road from the Michelin-starred restaurant run by the imperious Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), who of course immediately declares war on these interlopers. Meanwhile, Hassan begins exploring French cookery with Mallory's sexy sous-chef Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon). And his innate expertise catches Mallory's attention.

This simple twist helps propel the story and draw us in, as Hassan proves that he can teach Mallory a thing or two. Where this goes is played out in a simplistic way, but for audience members who are looking for meaning there's quite a bit of insight scattered around the script. Otherwise, Hallstrom is far more interested in superficial imagery, never quite letting the actors dig deep into their characters. Dayal shows some real texture as Hassan, but is reduced in the editing to merely smiling or frowning to show the character's frame of mind. And his relationship with Le Bon's impossibly perky Marguerite is almost painfully predictable.

Meanwhile, Mirren is barely stretched in her role, which really should have been played by a proper French-diva actress. And while he's the right age for his role, Puri looks far too old - like his children's grandfather rather than their dad and like Madame Mallory's uncle rather than her (shudder) potential love interest.

Fortunately there are plenty of distractions to keep us entertained, from the mouthwatering Indian and French cuisine to another superbly energetic score from A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionnaire). And screenwriter Steven Knight has infused the script with the same culture-clash insights that added weight to his earlier projects like Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises, as this old-world French village discovers the value of having a few immigrants in their community.



The Hundred-Foot Journey

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 122 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th August 2014

Box Office USA: $54.2M

Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures

Production compaines: Harpo Films, Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Studios

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 85 Rotten: 41

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Juliet Blake

Starring: as Madam Mallory, as Hassan, as Papa, as Marguerite, as Mansur, as Young Hassan, as Mama, Farzana Dua Elahe as Mahira, Dillon Mitra as Mukthar Kadam, Jean Kinsell as French Critic

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