The Hundred-Foot Journey
Om plays Papa Kardam, a headstrong and somewhat unruly family man from India who uproots his family after their home and restaurant are burnt to the ground and his wife tragically killed in a political coup. Searching for somewhere to call home again, like nomads he leads his family to England and sets anchor under a Heathrow flight path before relocating to France, where the fruit and vegetables have soul. Traditional and proud of his heritage, Papa believes his dead wife has guided them to France and to this village for a reason – there is a desolate building just waiting to be picked and given fruition as Maison Mumbai, an Indian gastronomic revelation. His children despair. Who, in their opinion, would want to eat the native spices they grew up with when Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) is serving refined French fois gras and escargot in a Michelin-starred restaurant 100 feet from their doorstep? But, Hassan (Manish Dayal), the son with an effortless gift and passion for food, relishes the challenge. And war is waged, as Mallory stands to stamp out the competition and Papa sets to outsmart her.
Amid shots of glistening tomatoes in golden French sunlight and rapid razor-sharp chopping of onions, celery and organic ceps, this film is more than just a culinary shindig – it’s a sentimental, delightful rom-com as East meets West in this fusion-cuisine consort. A R Rahman’s transnational score reflects unison and conflict – the Indian soundtrack contrasts with a quintessential continental landscape as the Kardam family roll their clapped-out campervan over cobbled village streets dotted through the valley. And gradually love, talent and tolerance bridge cultural gaps, blending a unique recipe.
Mirren is brilliant as the haughty determined heiress who softens into a romantic, nurturing yet strong woman, sliding in gleaming glimpses of playful energy that we rarely see from her. Om is authentic and engaging as rustic Papa, his performance witty, emotive and natural, while Dayal is believable as the innocent and gifted young chef.
A few tear-jerking moments, lovely chuckle ticks and suspended flashes of tension sufficiently entertain. A real all-rounder – challenge the world’s issues it doesn’t do, but you will be hard pressed not to appreciate director Lasse Hallström’s natural gift for storytelling, a charming narrative and some truly picturesque camera sequences.
The Hundred-Foot Journey is released nationwide on 5th September 2014.
Watch the trailer for The Hundred-Foot Journey here: