I am a big fan of all things Indian, I genuinely think that their culture is really interesting. From their music, dress to their food it all intrigues me. I have already really enjoyed the Indian influenced film ‘Million Dollar Arm’ this year so it was no surprise that I was eager to see this effort too.
The Hundred-Foot Journey is first and foremost about food. Much like ‘Chef’ earlier in the year this film does its best to get your stomach rumbling and it certainly succeeded. It does this through both Indian and French cuisine, the sequences in which these dishes are put together are reminiscent of an M & S advertisement, almost being hypnotising. This film may well inspire you to try your best at cooking and if not as far as this you will simply be dying for a curry. However, The Hundred-Foot Journey is about a lot more than food, it is about family, business and romance too. Most of these other elements are handled well however as is the case with most films I thought the romance element was poorly written. It had too much focus and It felt disjointed in parts however this was only a minor flaw as it didn’t effect the overall feel of the film, it just causes a few stumbles along the way.
Helen Mirren plays Madame Mallory, a pretentious restaurant owner who comes to blows with her new Indian neighbours. What was so good about this movie was the ‘journey’ that this character took. I was impressed as at the start of this film I really detested this character however as the events of the film took place I easily warmed to her and I quickly forgot why I had taken a dislike to her in the first place. A similar, but not identical journey is attempted with Charlotte Le Bon’s character, Marguerite however this did not have the same effect. I feel the intention was to have a similar feeling of acceptance towards this character at the end of the film but I simply hadn’t warmed to her by the time the credits had rolled. This was due to some of the actions that this character carried out during the course of the film and probably just because I liked the character of Hassen, who was in direct conflict to her, more. Anyway this was another small point but it comes from the same issues of the romance element to this film. As for the rest of the characters made up by the Indian family they were just a pleasure to watch. Papa (Om Puri) and Hassan (Manish Dayal) were the leads here and they crafted some really likeable characters demonstrating a variety of emotions.
The Hundred-Foot Journey has some subtle messages about values and family routes which are nice touches amongst everything else going on. The plot jumps about the place quite a bit, this may be unsettling for some but I just took from it that I was never bored and enjoyed the variety. This is a charming, simple film that gets most elements right, resulting in a really enjoyable couple of hours of viewing.
BIGGEST FLAW – Don’t think the character of Marguerite quite ended up as likeable as she should have
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – The character development of Madame Mallory
Rating – 8.5/10