Aahh…..I went to the movies, yesterday! A friend and I visited our favorite theater – Tinseltown – and saw The Hundred Foot Journey! Of course, we made a day of it – lunch at Pixley’s right near the theater, the movie, and then ice cream at Watt’s when we returned to Albion. And, then there was the talking……I really have no idea how we come up with so much to talk about – we see each other all the time – you’d think we’d run out of things to say after a while, but we always seem to jabber endlessly when we’re together!
So, on to the movie! We made up our minds to see this as soon as it came out, but we were both busy with other things, so didn’t see it right away. I can honestly say it was worth the wait, but after seeing it, I’m so disappointed I didn’t see it sooner…….I could have enjoyed it sooner! 🙂
The bulk of the movie is set in France, so the scenery is incredible! (side note, I really do need to think seriously about traveling to Europe!) There is romance, some tragedy, conflict among the characters, and humor! The cast is stellar! The incomparable Helen Mirren is impeccable as French restaurateur, Madame Mallory. The person she views as her antagonist, Papa, is brilliantly portrayed by Indian actor, Om Puri. There are two other main characters that the audience can’t help but fall in love with. First, Sous Chef, Marguerite, who is played by the lovely Charlotte Le Bon. Then, we have the gifted chef-in-training (and son to Papa), Hassan, played by Manish Dayal……..frankly, I had a hard time focusing on his dialogue because I couldn’t stop melting when I looked at his gorgeous eyes!!!
I mentioned that the movie is mostly set in France, but it starts out with flashback scenes of the Kadam family’s final days in their home city of Mumbai, India. The family, as explained by Hassan to a French Immigration agent who was questioning why they were moving to France, owned a successful restaurant there, but political unrest resulted in a riot that burned their restaurant and home and killed the mother. So, the Kadam’s fled India to start fresh in Europe. They first tried to settle in London, but they were not happy there. So, they decided to move on to France, where they thought that Hassan’s cooking talents may be better cultivated as he continues his training to become a great chef. With no definite destination in mind, the family – Papa, Hassan, a grown brother and sister, and a much younger brother and sister – travels across the French countryside in a beat up old van. The brakes give out on a mountainous road and the family barely escapes a tragic accident. As they are stranded on the roadside, along comes Marguerite – a sweet French girl who helps tow them to her village, connects them with a mechanic, and offers them food and a warm place to stay while they wait to hear when their van will be fixed. It ends up being an overnight stay in the village and Papa discovers an abandoned old restaurant that is for sale. Against very adamant protests from his family, Papa purchases the restaurant – he said that Mama spoke to him and told him that “brakes break for a reason”! As they begin to clean up and renovate the old restaurant, they are faced with the very hostile Madam Mallory – the owner of an elite Michelin-starred classic French restaurant located directly across the street. Of course, Madam Mallory does everything she can to make the opening and continued operation of their new restaurant extremely difficult. To add a twist, Hassan soon finds out that the lovely French girl he has become smitten with – Marguerite – is the sous chef at Madam’s restaurant, but that doesn’t stop their attraction from blossoming. The build up to the story comes to a head when Madame’s head chef takes the rivalry too seriously and goes too far in his misguided quest to rid their village of the new restaurant and residents. Mortified by his actions, Madame reaches out to help the family and the rest is for you to go see for yourself…….no spoilers, here!!!
The story is warm and rewarding to watch. The characters are lovable (yes, even Madame) and complex. It provides an interesting look into two very different cultures and traditions and how, through their differences, they can compromise and compliment each other without sacrificing either. It wasn’t a “sob your eyes out” kind of movie, but I was still very glad I had extra napkins with me. It is funny, heartwarming, romantic, and thoroughly enjoyable. Needless to say, I loved it and highly recommend it to all you hopeless romantics out there that just love a good romantic comedy! It met all my criteria for a movie eligible for high honors in my mind — I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with the characters, and I left feeling good!!! Can’t ask for more than that!
So — I do recommend it and I rate it a solid A+ — I can’t think of anything that would cause me to deduct any points!