Movie review: 'The Hundred-Foot Journey' is the feel good movie of the season

Sun. August 10, 2014 10:44 AM by Gregg Shapiro

the hundred-foot journey

photo credit // touchstone/dreamworks
Here's a bit of advice before you go see the new Lasse Hallström movie The Hundred-Foot Journey (Touchstone/DreamWorks). Don't see it on an empty stomach. A feast for both the eyes and the belly, The Hundred-Foot Journey is the feel good/tastes good movie of the season.

Co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, based on the novel by Richard C. Morais, The Hundred-Foot Journey comes across as a comeback for Hallström who seemed to have lost his footing in recent years. It's a movie in the tradition of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Big Night, featuring clashing adults, competing dining destinations and chaos, as well as inevitable romance.

Hassan (the gorgeous Manish Dayal), his Papa (Oma Puri), two brothers and two sisters, arrive in a small village in the French countryside after being exiled from Mumbai and spending a year in London (under the Heathrow flight path). A van breakdown brake incident allows for Hassan and sous chef Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) to meet cute (it's an international rom-com, kids!) before they discover they are going to be competitors. In spite of Hassan's resistance, Papa went out and bought the abandoned restaurant across the road from the Michelin-starred restaurant run by the stuffy and fussy Madame Mallory (Helen Mirrent) where Marguerite is employed.

After initially being dismissed as a joke, Mallory realizes that Maison Mumbai could spell trouble for her eating establishment; especially after she gets a taste of Hassan's cooking (he's been studying the art of French cooking and adding his own Indian flourishes). There is a buffet of conflict, including Mallory and Papa's personal war, as well as shocking racially-motivated violence. But the laughs and goo-goo eyes, including those between Mallory and Papa, are as plentiful as a feast. Hassan passes Mallory's omelet test and is hired away to help her earn her second Michelin star. From there, Hassan hits the heights in Paris. Of course, he misses his family, Marguerite and the life he left behind. Can you guess what he does?

Even at its most predictable, The Hundred-Foot Journey is filling and nourishing. It's the kind of pleasing movie that can satisfy just about any craving.

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