In the past decade, food-related movies have sprouted (see what I did there?) every few of years or so, each making you salivate more than the last. You only have to remember dribbling in front of Chocolat, Simply Irresistible, Julie and Julia, Ratatouille, No Reservations, Chef etc. The French (obviously) have their own string of foodie films, like Les Emotifs Anonymes, Comme un Chef or Les Saveurs du Palais.
The Hundred-Foot Journey, based on the eponymous book, takes us from India to Southern France following the Kadam family. Restaurant owners in their native Mumbai, the Kadams are forced to flee when their restaurant is burned down by an unruly political mob. Mourning the loss of wife and mother, an unfortunate car accident leads them to settle in the quiet village of Saint Antonin Noble Val in the Midi-Pyrénées.
Assisted by the beautiful Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), Hassan (Manish Dayal), his father (Om Puri) and the siblings find themselves drawn into the culinary culture surrounding them. When “Papa” decides to buy a restaurant in town, their neighbour Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) decides to fight their arrival in order to protect her Michelin-starred restaurant.
But war can only take you so far, and as both sides get to know each other better, walls begin to crumble and they’ll realise that their differences might just be what brings them together.
The movie is beautifully made (hey it’s a Lasse Hallström) and the cast is outstanding. Helen Mirren has more class than ever, and her fake French accent is just the right kind of superior. Manish Dayal is as passionate a character as you’ll ever see and Om Puri is delightful in his part of the stubborn patriarch desperate to give his family a better life. Charlotte Le Bon brings just enough “poutiness” with her face so similar to that of fellow countrywoman Audrey Tautou, and the food plays its part very well in that it will make your stomach growl all through the performance.
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