The Hundred-Foot Journey (Lasse Hallström, 2014)
I had lunch right before seeing this movie and also ate a cupcake during, and yet, it still made me hungry! The French food not so much (omelettes: BLURGH, quail: hmmm) but the swirl of the Indian curries, and the bright vibrant colours of the spices – JUST GET ME A MENU. STAT. Unfortunately I already had alternate dinner plans for that night, but the friend I saw it with was inspired to order Indian. Totes jelly.
Following political unrest and family tragedy in Mumbai, Papa (Om Puri) and his family move to France where they open up an Indian restaurant to showcase son Hassan’s (Manish Dayal) gift for cooking. This puts them in direct competition with a Michelin star French restaurant headed by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). They war for a bit, until Hassan woos Mallory with his omelette, and so continues his culinary career.
This is a lovely film, and I hate the word lovely because it conjures up images of old people drinking cups of tea and having polite conversation, but it just seems appropriate here. It’s a little predictable, but it’s an enjoyable watch. French and Indian aren’t two cultures you see fused together too much in film (or in cooking for that matter) and the merging of the two produces something delicious. France obviously looks beautiful, as well as the food. Although I’m still anti-omelette.
The curry wasn’t the only hot thing in this movie. Manish Dayal – HOT DAMN! And he can COOK! Well, maybe he can’t, but let’s not spoil the illusion. The twinkle in his eye will melt your butter, that’s all I’m going to say. Charlotte Le Bon as love interest Marguerite has that typical French girl-on-a-bicycle-with-a-baguette charm – a different character here to her recent fashionista role in Yves Saint Laurent. Om Puri as Papa is adorably hilarious – he borders on stereotype but I think they just get away with it because he’s so loveable. Helen Mirren is the only non-authentic actor cast, but she’s a freakin’ DAME so lay off the hate.
The Hundred-Foot Journey is a sweet, funny, two hour escape, with much to please the eye. It’s a little long, and a little predictable, but it has the odd surprise. It won’t make you think too much but sometimes a pleasant film such as this is just what you need. Just make sure you eat before you go.