The Hundred-Foot journey nicely done chick flick worth going to see
Chick flick director Lasse Hallstrom ("Chocolat," "The Cider House Rules," "Dear John") has done it yet again, with "The Hundred-foot Journey," a movie based on the novel by Richard C. Morais.
You may hear comments like "the culinary Romeo & Juliet" or "a Ratatouille romance," but the fact remains that this is a very nicely done film.
The storyline, the script, the acting and the scenery are all beautiful.
The main setting with the two opposing restaurants is superb, and the surrounding French countryside and village scenes are beautiful.
The cast is wonderful, led by the always beautiful Helen Mirren ("Red," "The Queen," "The Mosquito Coast") as Madame Mallory. She is fabulous as the pompous boss with a heart of gold. The thawing out of her character is a wonder to behold, excellently handled by director and star alike.
Helping with that is a great performance by Om Puri ("Gandhi," "Charlie Wilson's War," "AK 47") as Papa Kadam, the patriarch of the Indian family who disrupts Madam Mallory's world.
The addition of the almost unbelievably cute Charlotte Le Bon ("Mood Indigo," "The Stoller Strategy") as Marguerite makes the story seem even more fairytale-like than it was meant to be. I know all about human nature and Hollywood "looks mean everything" hoopla, but would this movie have been as good with a Maya Rudolph or a young Lili Taylor? Maybe...
And the male eye candy was just as gorgeous, with Manish Dayal ("The Sorcerer's Apprentice," "Walkaway," "90210") starring as Hassan Kadam, the prodigal chef. His journey actually tells the story, even if the other players nudge him out of the importance of the entire piece,
Every character is cast perfectly; including second tier players such as the mayor and the rugged chef who vandalizes the Indian restaurant.
But, the second tier player who stood out was Amit Shah ("The Infidel," "Whites," "Like Minds") as younger brother Mansur Kadam, with his gawky look and low-key performance, I am anxious to see more of him in the furture.
Story wise, it is the interplay between Mirren and Puri's character that makes this so charming. Yes, the young lovers Marguerite and Hassan are great, but that is expected, while the oldsters play first at a chess match between business competitors, then as two peas in the same pod, who realize that their admiration for each other has the makings of a true friendship.
This is definitely a movie that you need to go see, although children may be bored and action junkies will be disappointed. It's a chick flick, to be sure, but an excellent one.
And if you are a fan of food, it's icing on the cake.
Billy Summers is a freelance photographer who also reviews films for the Putnam Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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