The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

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Released:  Friday, August 8, 2014  
Length:  122 minutes
Studio: DreamWorks Studios
Genre: Drama/Suspense
Rating: The Hundred-Foot Journey is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaSome material may not be suitable for children.


Synopsis

In “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France. Filled with charm, it is both picturesque and elegant – the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Academy Award®-­-winner Helen Mirren), gets wind of it. Her icy protests against the new Indian restaurant a hundred feet from her own escalate to all out war between the two establishments – until Hassan’s passion for French haute cuisine and for Mme. Mallory’s enchanting sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), combine with his mysteriously delicious talent to weave magic between their two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even Mme. Mallory cannot ignore. At first Mme. Mallory's culinary rival, she eventually recognizes Hassan's gift as a chef and takes him under her wing.

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The Hundred-Foot Journey Blu-ray Review


Foodies, gourmet cooks and Food Network aficionados rejoice!   The latest Blu-ray and DVD release from Dreamworks will feed your senses and desires for exotic cuisine.  Based on the novel of the same name, The Hundred Foot Journey takes you on an adventure of French and Indian food, while blending the cultures of two completely different worlds.  If you loved watching Amy Adams create dish after dish of wonderful meals in Julie and Julia, then you will enjoy this film.
 
The Hundred Foot Journey is the story of Hassan (Manish Dayal; The Sorcerer's apprentice), a self-proclaimed cook taught by his mother in the family restaurant.  When tragedy strikes them Hassan, his father and his siblings travel to find a new home.  In a small province in France, the family finds that home and opens a restaurant one hundred feet from a Michelin starred establishment which leads them to a war with their new neighbor.  With underlying tones of racism, Hassan and his family do what they can to survive in this new country.  Ultimately, fueled by his love of cooking, Hassan breaches the barrier and earns the respect of the French Restaurant's proprietress, Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren; The Queen), who guides him from cook to world class chef.
 
Dayal is terrific as Hassan delving into emotional reactions brought on by his love of food and portraying  a young man losing himself as he rises in the ranks of the profession he so loves.  Helen Mirren is splendid as Madame Mallory, the hard as nails owner of the chic French restaurant who ultimately softens and embraces Hassan and his family.  Om Puri(Gandhi), as the patriarch of the family portrays a man who knows what he wants and how to get it as he bargains his way through France much to the embarrassment of his family.  Charlotte Le Bon (Yves Saint Laurent) is endearing as sweet, helpful, Marguerite, a young Frenchwoman apprenticing in the kitchen of a Michelin star restaurant, who helps Hassan learn the art of fine French cooking.  Truth be told, the real "star" of the movie is the food.  Prepared and displayed in all its mouth watering splendor. 
 
Presented in 1080p High Definition video, the film comes alive as director Lasse Hallstrom's (Chocolat, The Cider House Rules) visuals sweep across the vastness of a small provincial town and French country side.    English 5.1 DTS-HDMA Audio highlights the soundtrack with its mix of Indian flare and French aristocratic score. 
 
The Blu-ray extras are an add on that could mostly be skipped.  A discussion with Producers Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg doesn't add a lot to the viewer's experience and, unless you are really into cooking, the segment on how to make coconut chicken is simply ok.    As extras go, these are mediocre at best and seemed as if Dreamworks struggled to find things to add to the disk. 
 
Overall, it is an interesting story about racism and the competitive world of fine cuisine with a little human interest thrown in.  While I enjoyed watching it once, I don't know that I need to see it over and over again.  While it had heart and passion, I think it is the type of movie that has a very distinct target audience and I wasn't it.  B-

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