A young Indian cook and his family relocate to a French village,
where he hones his cooking talent to become a Michelin-starred chef.
The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
Directed by Lasse Hallström
Written by Steven Knight
Starring Manish Dayal, Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Charlotte Le Bon, Amit Shah, Farzana Dua Elahe, Dillon Mitra, Aria Pandya
Based on the novel by Richard C. Morais
Predictability is a flaw that affects most movies, but it becomes downright damaging when the film's entire plot depends on it. The Hundred-Foot Journey is a charming little story of an Indian cook who becomes the toast of France by cooking his family's traditional dishes. Of course, before the opening credits roll, we know he's going to get the Michelin Star. For this reason, it's hard to find any reason to care about the journey. Combine that with a slew of unrealistic characters and a sappy attempt to make it about race relations, and this film starts to derail awfully quick.
The performances are decent and help keep this film from becoming too mushy. I felt that Manish Dayal was great as aspiring chef Hassan Kadam. I believed his performance as a little cook in a big world. I thought Helen Mirren laid it on a bit thick, and the sudden character shift halfway through made no sense. I don't mind a change of heart, so long as it doesn't happen on a dime. I liked Charlotte Le Bon as Marguerite, Hassan's love interest and fellow chef, until she became spiteful and jealous once he achieved some success. This complete tonal shift was never explained or resolved. I felt it did some real damage towards my enjoyment of this quirky little story.
The Hundred-Foot Journey is bound to be a favorite of foodies everywhere, but for the casual moviegoer it leaves a lot to be desired. It's not well-written and it tries too hard to tell a story that really isn't all that dramatic. It glosses over the most interesting part of the film, which is when Hassan moves to Paris to be a real chef. I didn't expect much, but I was still let down.