Thursday, August 14, 2014

Movie Review: "The Hundred-Foot Journey" (2014)

Movie"The Hundred-Foot Journey"
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Rating: PG
Running Time: 2 hours, 2 minutes
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A father (Om Puri) moves his family to Europe to start a new life after being forced from their home in India following his wife's (Juhi Chalwa) death. The eldest son Hassan (Manish Dayal) was taught how to cook by his mother and has a real knack for flavors. While searching Europe for a place to settle, their car breaks down in the French countryside. They are helped out by a woman named Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) and taken to the nearby village to have their car fixed. It is in this village that they find a building that is perfect for a restaurant they want to open. Only one problem: across the street is a high-end classic French restaurant that has been awarded with a Michelin star. This restaurant is owned by the very competitive Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). A rivalry quickly begins, and despite Madame Mallory's best efforts, their restaurant is becoming quite successful thanks to Hassan.  Hassan, though he has a lot of ambition, is not satisfied with simply being the best Indian food chef in France. Instead, he wants to be the best chef in France, period, even if that means leaving the family restaurant to work for their rival. 

The beginning of this film starts out very strong and is extremely compelling. We were captivated by the rivalry between Madame Mallory and Papa, which starts out pretty viciously in a cute and delightfully innocent sort of way. Most of the tension is believable because of how well the respective parts are acted. Madame Mallory is played brilliantly by Helen Mirren, and as always, she puts on an excellent performance. You can sense her dedication to her craft as a restaurateur and almost understand why she's so competitive, though she can really be quite rude when she wants to be. Om Puri provides a lot of comic relief during the rivalry and you can tell he wants to succeed to honor is late wife and support his family. Each of their reasons come together to create an intense but also very lighthearted and quite charming situation with a good mix of humor in between the bickering and red tape.

As the film progresses, another rivalry forms that is not so touching. Hassan and Marguerite become bitter towards each other and there is a lot of resentment and unspoken nastiness in their rivalry, which takes some of the fun out of it. To be fair, if I were in Marguerite's position and some newbie came into my profession and worked their way up as fast as he did because I had given him the proverbial keys to the castle, I'd be pissed outwardly to Hassan, but really just be angry with myself. We understand why she would be so bitter, but it still detracts from the spirit from the film a little bit. Both of their characters went from being overly nice to angry just like that at the drop of a hat! As for Hassan, in the beginning of the film, it was nice to watch him grow and develop as a character and as a cook/chef, but after gaining fame and recognition, his character took a darker turn towards the end of the movie. When all is said and done, we were sort of left wondering if he had ever really recovered (as a person) from his time away from home as a chef in Paris.

Beyond all of this, the film is still pretty great and pleasing to watch. Plus, the cinematography is top-notch and the color scheme of this film is vibrant and bright, very pleasing to the eye. I definitely wanted a heaping plate of tikka masala and a mango lassi after it was over. It may have been just a bit too long and could have ended about 20 minutes before it did, which would have left "the worst part" of the movie on the cutting room floor and may have helped it a bit in the end. It was a good, inspirational underdog and human interest story that was nice for a change of pace from all the action movies that came out in the last month.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 64%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Red 2"

1 comment:

  1. Spot on! I would like to add that Hassan became increasingly more handsome as the movie progressed. By the end, he was in the running for hottest man on the planet.