THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY – A Review by John Strange

The Hundred-Foot Journey - still-of-manish-dayal-and-charlotte-le-bon-in-the-hundred-foot-journey-(2014)-large-picture
By: John ’Doc’ Strange
Directed by: Lasse Hallström
Cast: Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon, Om Puri, Juhi Chawla
MPAA Rating: PG (for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality)
Selig Rating: FULL PRICE
Runtime: 122 Min.
The Hundred-Foot Journey could be said to be the story of two restaurants which face each other across a road in rural France but it so much more than this.  It is the story of a family from Mumbai, India who lose their restaurant and the siblings’ mother to fire and who are looking for a new place to call home.  It is the story of a woman who has lost the love of her life and runs an amazing restaurant, created with her late husband, as an act of love in his memory.
Moving to Europe, the Indian family finds England to be too cold (and loud under the flight path for Heathrow Airport).  They work their way south across the continent they search for a new place to begin their lives anew.  In the hills of France they suddenly find their vehicle (not sue what you would call the blue thing they were driving) without working brakes.  Speeding along a road on the edge of a steep drop-off the family finally they come to a stop on the side of a hill.
Marguerite (newcomer Charlotte Le Bon), a young lady from the nearby village, uses her jeep to help pull the family’s vehicle to the village garage.  Along the way they pass an empty restaurant with a “for sale” sign.  The building is across the road from the restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), the region’s only Michelin star restaurant.  The previous owners of the space gave up on their dream because they could not compete with Madame’s cuisine.
Papa (Om Puri) is not one to let a little thing like this to stop him from realizing his dream.  He purchases the building and following renovations, Maison Mumbai is opened.  A sometimes quiet war breaks out as the Madame goes out of her way to hamper, no, kill their business.  She cannot abide by competition.  It gets in the way of her quest for her second Michelin star.
Slowly, Hassan (Manish Dayal), who learned his craft at the feet of his mother and now the family’s head chef, and the Madame’s souse chef, Marguerite (yes, the same girl who helped the family upon their arrival in the village), begin a slow, almost shy, courtship.  He tells her of his desire to learn French cuisine and she gives him the books he needs to begin the journey.
Hassan’s journey is filled with love and some of the most amazing cuisine you have ever seen.  His talent takes him first across the road and then to the heights of his profession. We see his love of cooking blossom and his love for Marguerite mature.
This film is a love story that you should watch with the person you love.  If you don’t have that special person in your life, see this film anyway.  It will build a warmth in your heart that will have you smiling as you walk from the theater. 
Movie Site:
The Selig Rating Scale:
FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!
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