Monday, September 15, 2014

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) * * * *

The Hundred-Foot Journey is a delightful story about food, love, learning to cope with differences, and accepting other people. It's also about finding what is actually important in life.

The movie feels a bit long, even though two hours in not that long by today's standards. However, a lot of things happen in it. I actually didn't watch the trailer, just knew that it had food in it, and I generally love movie about food. However, while food played an important part in the story, it was more of a vehicle to illustrate culture.
The story starts out with an Indian family losing their restaurant, and something more in a riot. They decide to come to Europe, but they want to find some place where there are good ingredients, and start a restaurant there. They come upon a village in France, where they decide to settle down, but on the opposite side of a French restaurant. From then on the story describes how the two cultures get along. I was impressed by the turn of events here, because I really didn't expect to unfold like the way it did.
There are some funny parts in the story, as well as some serious parts. The scenes where the food is in the limelight are shot well. No one should see it on an empty stomach.
I also have to note that the movie is actually in three languages. English, French, and what I'm assuming is Hindi. I saw it with the whole thing being subtitled in Hungarian, so I'm assuming the foreign parts are usually subtitled when watching in English. It was actually a bit funny, because I didn't need subtitles for the English, some of the French was also okay, but of course the Hindi escaped me. So I would hear something that I didn't understand, and quickly look down to read the translation.

Hassan (Manish Dayal) is the main character, and a likeable one. He's not the cliché Indian guy that we often cringe at in movies. He's very open to his surroundings, and is an overall modern person. He's also pretty cute. It's interesting to note that the actor was born in the US, so his accent is learned.
Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) is a lovely person in the story. She's a chef, though I only now realised that the only thing we ever actually see her cook is béchamel. She is beautiful though, and I couldn't stop looking at her.
To me, the Indian Papa (Om Puri) stole the show. He was sometimes comical, but also had a deep quality without the cliché philosophical speeches. I'd also like to note here that he is portrayed by a genuine Indian actor.
I think Helen Mirren is so often type cast into the role of an iron lady, I don't think I've seen her play anything else. However, she's always a good pick for it.

Overall, a delightful movie that left me warm in the heart. I recommend it for the lovely impression that it left me, and the inspiration to cook something.

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