Charlotte Le Bon, Helen Mirren and Manish Dayal in The Hundred-Foot Journey
Last month I had the chance to preview the sweet, sensuous, film The Hundred-Foot Journey when I was in San Jose, California. It’s always a treat to see a film at the Blogher conference, but this one was unique and especially well told. The Hundred-Foot Journey is a story of culture and food, passion and love set against the backdrop of the magnificent countryside in the south of France. It is a gorgeous story visually, and a well acted tale with many actors and actresses I hadn’t heard of yet, but look forward to seeing again and again.
The Hundred-Foot Journey opens August 8th starring Helen Mirren is an established business woman, icy proprietress of Le Saule Pleurer, in the south of France. She is used to entertaining politicians and other important individuals at her award-winning restaurant. She has already attained one Michelin star. She covets another, but cannot seem to elevate and inspire staff sufficiently to attain her next star. Her world is about to be rocked when a family flees India and settles in the area nearby. The elder son of the new immigrants is a talented chef with no formal training but a heart and natural passion for food. His character Hassan Kadam is easy on the eyes, played by Manish Dayal @ManishDayal. Hassan Kadam has received all of his training in the kitchen in his home in India at the foot of his mother, who is tragically killed in a house fire.
Om Puri is the father of Hassan. His character is played with charm and elegance and the right amount of humour. The job of balancing out the talented Helen Mirren in a movie directed by Lasse Halstrom is a challenging task, but Puri is more than up to the job. He discovers an empty restaurant for sale immediately across from the established award-winning restaurant run by Mirren and he decides he will buy it against the wishes of his family. He invests then and there, almost on a stubborn whim, because he has such faith in son’s cooking. He believes they can build a competitive and successful Indian restaurant next door to Mirren.
Charlotte LeBon is the sous chef in Helen Mirren’s kitchen in the Hundred-Foot Journey. She befriends the Kadam family when they arrive without food or anything much else in the small village. Hassan Kadam falls for her almost immediately but she is a tiny bit conflicted working for Madame Mallory, Mirren’s character. Chefs at competing restaurants should not date, she thinks.
From the press release:
In DreamWorks Pictures’ “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” the opening of a new Indian restaurant in the south of France next to a famous Michelin-starred eatery is nearly cause for a heated battle between the two establishments, until Le Saule Pleureur’s icy proprietress, Madame Mallory, recognizes her rival’s undeniable brilliance for preparing masterful meals.
The Hundred-Foot Journey opens August 8th and is rated PG. That rating alone is refreshing frankly because it is accurate and a wholesome story for all ages. The Hundred-Foot Journey is based on the novel by Richard C. Morais. The story was produced by Steven Spielburg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The Hundred-Foot Journey is sumptuous, well crafted, artful and tastefully executed, not unlike a beautiful meal. The relationship that develops throughout the movie between Madame Mallory and Papa is rich, complex and charming. The Hundred-Foot Journey will change the way you see food. I adored this movie for its story, setting and characters. There is a magic woven between Papa and Madame Mallory – that is genuine and truly memorable. These are some of the best character roles for actors over 40 I have seen on screen in a very long time. The Hundred-Foot Journey is no rom com, or flash in the pan action flick; it’s a substantial story that will be equally enjoyable for both genders.
1/2$$$$ out of $$$$$
(It loses half a dollar sign only because I felt at times it seemed confused as to whether it was a big budget tour de force movie or a simple but brilliant art film.)
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I was invited to see the Hundred-Foot Journey while at Blogher. I was not required to review this. I choose to share it because I enjoyed it thoroughly and I hope many of my readers will too.