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MOVIE REVIEW: The Hundred Foot Journey

| 24 September 2014 | Reply

MOVIE REVIEW: The Hundred Foot Journey
Directed by Lasse Hallstrom
Starring Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

The Hundred Foot Journey movie

Based on the much-loved book by Richard C Morais, The Hundred Foot Journey is a story about love and tragedy, family and work, racial divides and intolerance – but at its heart it’s about food, the passion some of us have for cuisine, and its unifying nature.

Hassan Kadam’s family moves to a small French village in the South of France and buys a restaurant after his beloved mother is killed in a violent attack on the family home in Mumbai.

Madam Mallory, who runs the classical French restaurant across the road, objects horrendously to the noise, aromas and very presence of the new Indian restaurant, and a war ensues between her and family patriarch Papa as traditional cuisine collides head on with the exotic food and customs of the immigrants.

After another violent assault with echoes of the murder of his mother, Hassan finds his way to convince Madam Mallory of his gift for cooking – a gift nurtured since youth by his mother. She recognises the magic in him finally, and further irks Papa by hiring Hassan so he can learn traditional French cooking, to satisfy the hunger for knowledge in his heart, and so she can attain the elusive second Michelin Star which she so covets.

The titular 100 foot journey is the walk from the kitchen on one side of the road, to the kitchen on the other, and is symbolic of so much more: Hassan is the only one who can foresee a way to blend these two cuisines – and these two cultures – and make a new way forwards to bridge the gap between not only styles of food, but also families.

The message is simple: just as the journey between these two kitchens which could not be more different is only a hundred feet, so too the journey towards understanding people who are different, cultures which appear alien, cuisines which we don’t at first understand – they all start with just a few steps of tolerance and listening.

It’s an enchanting story, told slowly and gently, and as such The Hundred Foot Journey may appear a little lightweight to some viewers. Allow your senses to be indulged though, and like an exquisite dish you will discover nuances in its simplicity for an eminently enjoyable experience.

Don’t watch it hungry, though – the food is shot magnificently and even after a full meal we were salivating!

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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