NOW WATCHING: THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Via: Fox Movies Premium HD

Directed by Lasse Hallström from a screenplay written by Steven Knight, The Hundred-Foot Journey is a comedy-drama film adapted from Richard Morais’ 2010 novel with the same name. The film stars Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon and tells the story of a feud between two adjacent restaurants in a French town: one operated by a recently relocated Indian family and the other a Michelin-starred restaurant.



In the beginning of the film, the Kadam family ran a restaurant in Mumbai. The second-oldest son, Hassan (Manish Dayal), was being groomed to replace his mother (Juhi Chawla) as the restaurant’s main cook. However, a mob attacks and firebombs the restaurant over an election dispute. Papa Kadam (Om Puri) and his family evacuate the guests, but Mama is killed. Seeking asylum in Europe, the family first settles in London, where their residence proves ill-suited for a restaurant. They depart for mainland Europe.

Shortly after entering France, the brakes on Papa’s van fail near Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the Midi-Pyrénées. Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), a sous chef at an upscale French restaurant named Le Saule Pleureur (or The Weeping Willow), passes by and offers to help the Kadams find an auto repair shop and a guest house. She brings the Kadams to her apartment and treats them to cold food. Papa is amazed at the quality of the food in the village and its availability and discovers that Marguerite made the food herself.

Papa learns of an abandoned restaurant building available for purchase. It’s located directly across the street — only 100 feet — from Le Saule Pleureur. Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), Le Saule Pleureur’s owner, asks the Kadams to leave because it is “private property.” Papa buys the property, even though the rest of his family is against it, and names the restaurant Maison Mumbai.

Mallory comes over to Maison Mumbai to ask for a menu and then buys all the locally available ingredients needed to cook their dishes on opening night. A cold war erupts between Papa and Mallory. The war peaks on Bastille Day when one of Mallory’s chefs, Jean-Pierre, and two others vandalize the Kadams’ restaurant by spray-painting words which translate to “France for the French” on the outer wall and firebombing the interior. Hassan catches the arsonists in the act and scares them off, but his hands and legs are burned. The following morning Mallory, who has nothing to do with the arson and vandalism, fires Jean-Pierre and cleans up the graffiti on Maison Mumbai’s outer wall.

Hassan, having heard from Marguerite that Mallory hires potential chefs by taste-testing an omelette and deciding whether the person is indeed a great chef, asks if he may cook an omelette for her to his recipe. Due to his injured hands, Mallory helps under Hassan’s supervision. After tasting the omelette, Mallory recognizes Hassan’s potential and invites him to work for her. Papa is initially against the move, but ultimately strikes a deal with her as to Hassan’s pay.

Hassan’s cooking results in Mallory’s restaurant receiving its second Michelin Star. The award draws national attention to Hassan’s cooking, and he is offered and accepts a job in Paris. Papa and Mallory make amends and begin seeing each other.

Hassan’s cooking in Paris quickly receives critical acclaim, fueling speculation of a third Michelin Star for the Paris restaurant, but his work is increasingly bogged down by thoughts of his family and Marguerite (with whom he had an ongoing romance). Hassan returns home and reunites with Marguerite. He invites Marguerite to join him in a business venture — buying a stake in Mallory’s restaurant, along with operational control. Hassan believes this will help the restaurant earn its third star. That evening, Hassan and Marguerite prepare dinner at Mallory’s restaurant and bring the dishes across the road to the courtyard of Maison Mumbai for all to enjoy.



Produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey for DreamWorks Pictures through their respective production companies, Amblin Entertainment and Harpo Films, in association with Participant Media and Image Nation, The Hundred-Foot Journey was released by Touchstone Pictures on August 8, 2014, receiving generally positive reviews and earning nearly $90 million at the worldwide box office. The film was released in France as Les Recettes du bonheur (or The Recipes for Happiness).



The Hundred-Foot Journey has been met with mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 68%, based on 124 reviews. The site’s consensus reads: “Director Lasse Hallström does lovely work and Helen Mirren is always worth watching, but The Hundred-Foot Journey travels predictable ground already covered by countless feel-good dramedies.” On Metacritic, the film has a score of 55 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews.” Salis Afaque of Salis Magazine gave the film 3 stars. The Wrap’s Alonso Duralde called the film “a surprisingly bland slumgullion of food porn and emotional manipulation, filtered through the middlebrow sensibilities of director Lasse Hallström.” Variety’s Justin Chang called the film “the most soothing brand of cinematic comfort food.” Film critic Edwin Arnaudin of the Asheville Citizen-Times gave the film a B-plus. The NPR’s film critic Kenneth Turan said the film was entertaining, while criticizing the predictability of the story and “wishing that the film had more of the messy juices of life flowing through its veins.”



My verdict: If you value family and tradition, you need to watch this movie. It will warm your heart.

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