The Hundred-Foot Journey is a wonderful film that shows that while we as nations and races may still be divided, we can come together in a great many ways. One of those is a very simple one – food. Hassan Kadam has one passion and goal in life: to cook. Playing an important role in his life, his mother was responsible for teaching his to smell, taste, and prepare the ingredients. His family’s restaurant was quite famous, and brought a great many people to their tables because of traditional culinary masterpieces.
Yet a political upheaval resulted in riots, and the restaurant was left in the wake of the resulting madness. Along with the restaurant, Hassan lost his mother in the fire. So the family sought to leave the pain, rubble and sadness of Mumbai and search for a new home.
After moving from country to country, the family settled in the South of France. Hassan’s father planned to bring new life to an abandoned restaurant. But there is only one restaurant in town, and it just so happens to be directly across the street from where the Kadam’s aim to revitalize the extinguished business.
However, of all the people to run into in the business world, you do not want to compete with Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) and her establishment, Le Saule Pleureur. Despite Le Saule Pleureur’s monopoly, the people of the village have never tired Indian food and Hassan is an extraordinary cook. So, Maison Mumbai is born.
You could be a mile, or 10 miles away from Mallory and shake in your boots so there’s something highly unsettling, at first, about being a mere hundred feet away. She views Hassan’s restaurant as pesky upstart and so begins Madame Mallory’s war which makes this film all the more enticing. But she soon realizes that Hassan has a special gift and takes it upon herself to help him hone his skills to become an even more amazing chef. The magic in the film then presents itself as the unlikely friendship is struck between two families who thought they had absolutely nothing in common but there is so much more of the story to take in and explore.
This Blu-Ray comes with a small but fulfilling portion of extras. Probably the most interesting is the interview with producers Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfery. Just short of a commentary (which would be nice especially Steven never does any) the two offer tasty, if fluffy, insights on the film. The rest are, go figure, food related. Finally, one thing that deserves lauding is the screenplay adapted from the novel by Richard C. Morais. If the film quality didn’t already speak for itself , you can thank Steven Knight (a gifted story teller in his own right) for his unseen hand here. Ever heard of Locke or Peaky Blinders? Yup, that’s the same guy. You may not know the name but the quality of his projects more than speak for themselves.
But the biggest draw to this production, on screen anyway, is the above mentioned Helen Mirren who is just a delight. She’s had a brilliant career and this is yet another jewel in her illustrious crown. She has an amazing ability to shift on the audience without them noticing. At first you take joy in disliking her, yet in an instant, she transforms to into a real screen heroine. Similarly, the unknown Manish Dayal shows he has potential and untapped talent to spare. He puts on a equally fine performance almost effortlessly. A perfect film for this or any holiday season, The Hundred-Foot Journey is a touching and memorable story about family and passion in life, whatever it may be.