I'm a freelance writer, storyteller and poet living and writing in Manchester.
Published September 18th 2014
The Hundred Foot Journey is a story of Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal), a young Indian man with a passion for cooking, learned beside his mother's oven. After a tragedy in Mumbai unsettles his family, they leave for Europe in search of a new home and a fresh life. They eventually land in a French village, and open a restaurant serving their native cuisine, which is hard enough to sell to the locals without the complications from the battles waged by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), the owner of the Michelin-star restaurant across the road.
There is nothing earth-shatteringly original about the plot of this film. For the most part it is highly predictable, following in the path of so many feel-good films before it. But that's no reason to write it off.
The themes of family, friendship and being an outsider are handled with a fair amount of finesse, and are not cloyed with a great number of stereotypes. Rather, the main characters are complex and at times surprising, though not inconceivably so. The acting is, overall, sharp and sincere.
The story's pacing is a bit uneven, developing some characters very well, and exposing others' feelings and motivations rather too abruptly. But the unlikely events that unfold do so naturally, with very little feeling of contrivance to drive toward the resolution.
I would recommend this film for its feel-good factor and the likeability of its characters. Odds are, it isn't going to be terribly memorable, but as immediate entertainment, it fits the bill.