The Hundred-Foot Journey is a sweet film about the culinary and cultural clashes that ensue after a fortuitous vehicular malfunction lands an Indian family in a quaint French village.
After seeking asylum in England following attacks on their restaurant in India, the Kadam family drives on to find where to settle next. When brakes break just outside a small town in France, the family is rescued by a lovely (in looks and personality) girl who just happens to be a sous chef (Quebec’s own Charlotte Le Bon). Upon their way into town, a dilapidated old restaurant, overgrown with greenery and dust catches the papa’s eye. Papa (played by Om Puri) sees beyond the crumbles and declares it their new home, a place for his naturally epicuriously talented son Hassan (Manish Dayal) to blossom. Trouble is, right across the street (literally 100 feet away) lays a classical French restaurant boasting a Michelin star. The restaurateur (Helen Mirren), is not about to welcome competition so she digs her heels in and readies herself for battle.
Through the tensions and rivalry, there is the underlying mutual love of cooking, the budding young love of two ambitious chefs, and xenophobic undercurrents. While heavy topics are brushed upon, the film remains light and comes complete with a nicely wrapped happy ending.
With director of Chocolat Lasse Hallström at the helm I’d expected more from the food portion of the film. There was more produce porn than tantalizing dish pics. Shots of the markets were beautiful, but almost too perfect to feel real. I was a little disappointed that the food portions lacked sensuality. See The Hundred-Foot Jounrey for the story, for the food section left me wanting, not hungry.