Helen Mirren commands perfection as Madame Mallory in The Hundred-Foot Journey as her restaurant serves only the best but is challenged when a new family suddenly invades her territory, threatening her livelihood and her 30 year quest for her second Michelin star.
Tragic circumstances send the Kadam family fleeing the only home they’ve ever known in Mumbai but a twist of fate lands them in Saint-Antonin in the South of France. What seems like an ideal town full of rich ingredients to build a delicious restaurant ends up in a bitter feud between two restaurants just a mere 100 feet apart.
Hassan Kadam, played by Manish Dayal, becomes a foodie at an early age with a mother who is an amazing cook and schools her son on the art of food. He has an amazing talent but he simply calls himself a cook when he meets Margeurite, played by Charlotte Le Bon.
Papa, played by Om Puri, is the head of the Kadam family and is proud of his son’s skills as a chef. Their desire to bring Indian food to France and his loud Bollywood music for his family’s new restaurant called Maison Mumbai clashes with Madame Mallory’s Mozart and classical tastes. Both are stubborn and concoct brilliant ideas to undermine the competition and will not back down.
Circumstances change one night when someone takes matters into their own hands, altering everyone’s future. Hearts are changed and differences between two cultures become melded as Hassan’s talent and love of French cuisine ultimately seduces hearts through food.
[quote]A hundred-foot journey begins in that moment when you bravely drop what is familiar and cross over into a new realm that is far out of your comfort zone. It is a profound journey, however small in physical distance, that materially changes the course of your life for the better. – Richard C. Morais[/quote]
Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey introduced The Hundred-Foot Journey media preview event and marks their first collaboration since The Color Purple in 1985. It only makes sense that a move focused on food and culture would bring them together.
The Hundred-Foot Journey tells an important message about the choices humans make to disagree over issues regarding immigration and nationality but does so through beautiful, albeit nontraditional, food that will make foodies wanting more. What may be a familiar story to fans of the novel by Richard C. Morais can help change hearts and minds, if we only listen to each other.
Parental advisory: (SPOILER ALERT) There are two disturbing instances of people being burned which are horrific to watch, but essential to the story. This would be the only reason I would not recommend the movie for children, other than the length of 122 minutes that may not be of interested to younger children.
[quote]In “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France. Filled with charm, it is both picturesque and elegant – the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, Maison Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin-starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Academy Award®-winner Helen Mirren) gets wind of it. Her icy protests against the new Indian restaurant a hundred feet from her own escalate into a heated battle between the two establishments until Hassan’s passion for French haute cuisine — and for Madame Mallory’s enchanting sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) — combine with his mysteriously-delicious talent to weave magic between their two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even Madame Mallory cannot ignore. At first Madame Mallory’s culinary rival, she eventually recognizes Hassan’s gift as a chef and takes him under her wing.
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” abounds with flavors that burst across the tongue. A stimulating triumph over exile, blossoming with passion and heart, it is a portrayal of two worlds colliding and one young man’s drive to find the comfort of home, in every pot, wherever he may be.
Directed by Academy Award-nominee Lasse Hallström and starring Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon, “The Hundred-Foot Journey” is produced by Academy Award-winner Steven Spielberg, Academy Award-nominee Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake. The executive producers are Caroline Hewitt, Carla Gardini, Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King. The screenplay is written by Academy Award-nominee Steven Knight, based on the novel “The Hundred-Foot Journey” by Richard C. Morais.[/quote]
The Hundred-Foot Journey is rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language, and brief sensuality.
Images courtesy DreamWorks Pictures. Used with permission.
Media tickets to an advanced screening were provided to facilitate The Hundred-Foot Journey review.