"The Hundred-Foot Journey"
Release Date: Aug. 7, 2014
Running Time: 122 minutes
However more appetizing it is to make food, not war, the rival restaurant owners in The Hundred-Foot Journey prefer to engage in hostilities rather than feed the hungry inhabitants of a charming French village. Director Lasse Hallstrom’s enchanting adaptation of Richard C. Morais’ novel pits Helen Mirren’s snotty Madame Mallory against Om Puri’s proud Papa, who dares to open a family-friendly Indian restaurant 100 feet across the road from Mallory’s Michelin-starred classic French restaurant. The distance between the restaurants, of course, is more symbolic than literal. Papa and his family are new to France, having fled India as political refugees. The 100 feet between the restaurants represents the divide their owners must cross before they can understand each other and coexist in harmony. Some villagers don’t take too kindly to their new neighbors, resulting in a hate crime that several in Mallory’s camp commit without her knowledge or blessing against Papa and his family. Hallstrom doesn’t seek to exploit the racially tinged atmosphere that he creates early in The Hundred-Foot Journey—it’s employed as a means jolt the fearful and the misguided members of a close-knit community back to their senses rather than for shock value. Once this uncomfortable moment passes, Hallstrom is able to focus on the unexpected journey undertaken by Papa’s son Hassan, whose love of cooking translates into a performance of wide-eyed wonderment by Manish Dayal. Recognizing Hassan’s talents, Mallory takes the appreciative young man under his wing. Free of the earlier tensions, The Hundred-Foot Journey quickly becomes a fine dining companion piece to one of Hallstrom’s earlier culinary delights, the equally warm and inviting Chocolat. The dishes Hassan and his colleagues slave over in the kitchen—from an omelet that’s deceptively simple to a plate of stuffed pigeon with truffles made from a recipe found in an original Le Cordon Bleu cookbook—will leave your mouth watering. This is food porn at its best. The shared love of food is a force to be reckoned with in The Hundred-Foot Journey. It overcomes racial and cultural barriers to create an environment of peace and understanding. Granted, this may seem a tad naïve on the part of The Hundred-Foot Journey, but it works within the confines of the tale of love and devotion Hallstrom seeks to tell. The family that cooks and eats together—with friends joining them at the dinner table—stays together.
Aired: Aug. 6, 2014
Web site: http://100footjourneymovie.com/