Review – The Hundred Foot Journey

movie poster for The Hundred Foot JourneyThis is the warm and fuzzy date night movie of the summer.  Grab your person you like to feel happy with and go see The Hundred Foot Journey this weekend.

A sweet story about chasing dreams, tough decisions, and making peace from the director of Chocolat, Lasse Halstrom, The Hundred Foot Journey pulls you in so close that you can almost smell the clash of turmeric against subtle French sauces.

The Kadam family has run a respected restaurant in Mumbai for years, when one terrible evening politics turn an angry mob onto their neighborhood. They lose everything in a fire. The family lands for a time in England as refugees, until the unstoppable Papa, played by Om Puri, decides that England is unsuitable for the new restaurant he dreams of, throws his children in a van and starts driving across Europe.

Happenstance breaks the van down in a small French village.  Papa, and his cooking prodigy son Hassan (Manish Dayal) fall in love with an abandoned old restaurant for sale. Seeing also the amazing quality of fresh local ingredients at the town market, Papa decides to buy the property and settle the family down.  This horrifies his more sensible children, because directly across the street is a restaurant known regionally for its highly rated classic French cuisine.  How could the Kaddam family possibly compete? Unperturbed, Papa is determined to bring fine Indian cooking to the area, fully believing that Hassan, an incredibly talented chef, will soon be renowned for his cooking.

Across the street, Madame Mallory (Dame Helen Mirren) has little patience for either competition or a neighbor who could affect her carefully cultivated classic French atmosphere.  A fierce cold war quickly ensues between the Madame and Papa, the blows ranging from dirty tricks at the market to demanding city code enforcement.  While his father wages war, Hassan seeks out an education in French cooking, befriending Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), the Madame’s sous chef.

These characters are rich and worth knowing, and the Hundred Foot Journey they travel together is a story you will be glad to know.  This is a film about people, and their conflicts, and working things out.  It is both heart wrenching and positive. You should see A Hundred Foot Journey with someone who likes your smile.