Movie Review: The Hundred-Foot Journey

I had the pleasure of attending a screening of The Hundred-Foot Journey in San Jose when I was there for BlogHer, and I'm so glad I got to see this movie. The film is similar to Chef, but in France, rather than Miami, and minus the food trucks, and you better make sure you have eaten a full meal before you go to see it; the dishes they create in the movie definitely look tempting.

Hassan Haji (Manish Dayal) and his family end up stranded in France when their car breaks down. They end up loving the area, though, and decide to build their Indian restaurant there. There's only one problem: the small town already has a restaurant, run by the icy Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), who doesn't intend to compete with Hassan and Papa Kadam (Om Puri) for business. When the restaurant is built, it initially doesn't do well, but due to the tenaciousness of Papa Kadam and the family, it starts to succeed; at the same time, Hassan finds out that Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), the girl he has a crush on, works in Madame Mallory's kitchen, and a friendly competition starts to brew between the two.

Most of the actors in this film are not well-known, yet they are all superb. Helen Mirren is most likely the name you will recognize from the cast list, but Manish Dayal as Hassan and Om Puri as Hassan's father are both fantastic, as is Charlotte Le Bon as Marguerite. The French countryside is practically another character as well, and even when the location switches back and forth between there and Paris near the end of the film, we don't lose its quaintness and charming views.

Yes, definitely see this movie. The fine acting, combined with the sweeping views of the French countryside and diverse soundtrack throughout, helps propel this film into one of my favorites of the year thus far. In addition, the movie is produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, among others, and it's based on the book of the same name, which I now want to read. The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars out of 5 is because the ending was a little too "perfect" (almost like Oprah said "You get a happy ending! And you! And you!"), although I'm not sure how I would have changed it. This is a family-friendly movie that's both humorous and also has an interesting plot and narrative, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a great movie to see this weekend.

The Hundred-Foot Journey is in theaters today, August 8th, and is rated PG with a runtime of 122 minutes. 4.5 stars out of 5.

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