THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY | MOVIE REVIEW

When you hear of a movie combo containing the elements of Helen Mirren, food, Oprah Winfrey, Disney and Spielberg you kind of get a wee bit excited at the possibilities. I run two websites, one for movies and one for food, you can imgine my excitement at this film. Watching the trailer for the first time had me squealing with delight, this was going to be my film, I was going to love it and I bloody well did. It is the perfect family foodie film for all and a film that embraces the ethos of Disney, family fun and love with a sprinkle of magic. THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY is out tomorrow, Thursday 14th August in Australia. It is rated PG and runs for 122mins. 

 

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THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY JASON KING

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY is based on the first novel from Richard C. Morais and follows an Indian family, in particular one of the sons, as they leave India and set up an Indian restaurant in a French provincial town. They open their restaurant one hundred feet, literally across the street, from a One Star Michelin restaurant. This restaurant is run by Madame Mallory, an efficient, militarised owner and Maitre d’. What starts as friendly competition and restaurant warfare turns into the recognition of a superb chef that comes from lower levels of Indian society to become the next best chef in the French food scene. The film embraces love, the love of food and the love of family.

I have not read the book so cannot compare but for me the film is near perfect, it is incredibly Disneyesque and the perfect film to take your parents and even grandparents to, and a film the kids will also love – it is cliché ridden and incredibly predictable but it is oozing with charm and that Disney magic that you just can’t help but laugh and smile through the whole thing and then cry at the sadder moments, I fell in love with this film, it requires little thinking and is incredibly tantalising.

 

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THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MADAME MALLORY (HELEN MIRREN)

 

Dame Helen Mirren does what she does best, seduces the audience into loving everything she does, she is just amazing in the film. The role is not a huge challenge for her, excluding the French accent and language, but she is utterly charming and just knows how to make you fall in love. Even as the “bitch across the street” you still love her. I have to be honest though – she does not steal the show in the movie, she never outshines, she fits into the ensemble cast and gives it a strong backbone. My favourite character would have to be Papa, played by Om Puri, he is just hysterical and has some of the best lines in the film – when you hear the line “he looks like a terrorist” you will know what I mean – I am chuckling now just thinking about it.

I also have to say HELLO Manish Dayal, I now have an Indian actor I have a huge crush on, Dayal plays the lead, Hassan, he is just so gorgeous, naive and determined, but also has a smile that will melt your heart faster than butter in a high-heat pan. As he evolves from lower cook in an Indian restaurant to high level chef in the best restaurants in France you see the evolvement of his gorgeousness – me want me some Manish – get in line ladies :). Hassan embraces the love of food that I also feel, he is a “chef that has the magic,” a natural talent and to him when he sees his mum’s old herbs the magic is there, it gave me tingles, I feel the same when cooking something with all natural and fresh ingredients, it is orchestrating a culinary movement of joy!

 

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THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | HASSAN (MANISH DAYAL)

 

There is also the delightfully stunning Marguerite, played by Charlotte Le Bon, who is quite possibly the epitome of French beauty, one of the most stunning ladies I have seen onscreen, everyone will fall in love for her. She is a brilliant love match for Hassan and the only thing I disliked was her jealousy and envy at Hassan’s success. I just thought it did not suit her character as presented at the start of the film and I slightly disliked the character a bit for this, but I was also always rooting for Hassan.

Now a couple of things that lost a perfect score, as mentioned the envy of Marguerite, but also, as is normally the Disney way, all conflict is immediately resolved, even the restaurant conflicts from across the road, all resolved quickly, moved on, in reality one restaurant would end up burned down with the owner shot on the front steps, that would not be very Disney, but you get my point. The food is also a character but while the film embraces the food and is no doubt going to be successful riding on the back of the food reality shows, it never goes into as much detail as said programs, it kind of leaves most of that all up to the imagination and leaves you with an actor doing a foodgasmic noise. The other thing I found odd, I thought Hassan was going to do something amazing with sea urchins at the end of the film, some tie in to the attention they received at the beginning, it headed to that direction but never came to fruition, this is a minor point I noticed and will not ruin anything.

 

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THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | PAPA (OM PURI), MADAME MALLORY (HELEN MIRREN) AND HASSAN (MANISH DAYAL)

 

I think a lot of critics will rip into this film, it is very sweet and soppily magical, something the critical world dislikes, they like raw, brutal and more reality than fantasy. This reminds me of the old school movies, beautiful little rosy cheeked films that might have a Shirley Temple or a Julie Andrews in them. It is just delightful and something I have urged my parents to see after Thursday. In a cinematic world of superheroes or violent arthouse films that destroy your soul or heart it is nice to have a wee slice of comfort film. Get thee buttocks to a cinema to see this one – oh, and make this an evening screening after going out to a big meal, preferably Indian.

 

4 and a Half Pops

 

 

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