If you do anything before going to see DreamWorks Studios’ latest movie, The Hundred-Foot Journey, make sure it involves eating a delectable three-course meal. Otherwise you may feel as if you’re being subjected to two hours of mouth-watering, lip-smacking torture as you and your empty stomach are forced to watch a non-stop barrage of beautifully prepared gourmet dishes from the confines of your seat (trust me, popcorn and sour patch kids just won’t cut it).
Set in a small village in the south of France, the Steven Spielberg- and Oprah Winfrey-produced movie follows the story of Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal), a culinary protege who travels to France with his displaced Indian family in the hopes of settling down and opening an Indian restaurant in the French countryside. However, when the Kadam family purchases property 30 metres away from a Michelin-starred French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) a heated clash between the two establishments and cultures ensues as Hassan begins to fall in love with classical French cuisine (and Madame Mallory’s beautiful sous-chef, Marguerite, played by Canada’s Charlotte Le Bon).
Although the film is billed as a drama, The Hundred-Foot Journey offers enough laugh-out-loud moments to appease rom-com fans. While Mirren’s snobby, uptight portrayal of Mallory delivers everything you would expect from the Academy Award-winning actress; Om Puri’s Papa Kadam steals the show as the family’s stubborn yet sweet patriarch. The Hundred-Foot Journey also marks the Hollywood debut of Montreal-born actress Charlotte Le Bon, whose portrayal of Marguerite is sweet and refreshing, but at times feels underutilized.
At its core, The Hundred-Foot Journey is a movie about good food, and one man’s passion for cooking. Despite some pacing issues (the story goes from too slow to way too fast in the flip of a pancake), it’s still a satisfying alternative to the violent, big-budget blockbusters that flood the silver screen every summer.