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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

The Hundred-Foot Journey | Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Om Puri, Charlotte Le Bon | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
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The Hundred-Foot Journey | Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Om Puri, Charlotte Le Bon | Review

When a fire destroys their restaurant, claiming the life of their beloved matriarch in the process, the Kadam family of Mumbai relocates to London, and ultimately, to France.  

Papa Kaddam (Om Puri) and his five children – three of them grown – have an automotive breakdown on the outskirts of the scenic town of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. After being rescued and fed by a young woman named Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), and finding the surroundings sumptuous, Papa decides to open a restaurant in a neglected but charming building to highlight the skill of son Hassan (Manish Dayal) an extremely talented cook.  Hassan keeps the spirit of his mother alive through his artful mastery of her cuisine.

The family’s new venue is, unfortunately, 100 feet from the doorway of 1-star Michelin restaurant Le Saule Pleureur and its frosty owner, Madame Mallory Helen Mirren).  Marguerite, it turns out, is her sous chef.  Madame Mallory craves a second Michelin star, but she has absolutely no appetite for the new competition that’s moved in right across the road.

Sparks fly as Papa and Madame Mallory clash, involving the town’s long-suffering mayor (Michel Blanc) in nuisance complaints about each other’s establishments.  Meanwhile, Marguerite and Hassan fuel a simmering crush that renders them into an extremely mild version of Romeo and Juliet.

That’s the setup.  The problem with this film, which has some nice moments AND an introduction by co-executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg is that there are no surprises, no real tension, and a resolution that satisfies only because of its predictability.  You could say that it follows a recipe but lacks spice.  It is simply adequate.

The cast is extremely likeable, exuding fire and ice when necessary.  The story, however, depends on several about-face character epiphanies that evade the ring of truth.  Is that what real people do, or is that simply what a writer wants them to do?


Director Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) lets the scenery and cuisine star in the hopes of enhancing a formulaic and somewhat contrived story.  Adapted from the Richard C, Morais novel by screenwriter Steven Knight (Eastern Promises), the film delivers what amounts to reheated leftovers rather than an innovative entrée.


Likeable characters aside, this gourmet tale comes off unfortunately, as canned.

 

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