Review: The Hundred-Foot Journey

I love food movies and shows. I wish there were more food tv shows here in America. I don’t just mean shows on the Food Network. I mean actual fiction food tv shows. There are lot of them in Korea and I really enjoy watching people cook and am interested in the goings-on behind the scenes in kitchens. Those shows make me really hungry and I loooove food! So this movie satisfied my hunger for food movies. This one is about an Indian family determined to make it big in France. Mainly it’s their father who’s pushing them but his younger son is his biggest supporter. Back in India they had a successful restaurant. At the time there was some sort of unrest and chaos. Their restaurant caught on fire and the mother died in the fire. The main character here is Hassan who learned everything from his mother. She taught him not just how to cook but to understand his ingredients. She taught him how to respect food and how it’s made.

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After the fire, the family moved to England. They only lived there for several years before settling down in France. This whole journey is about discovery, fulfilling dreams and overcoming obstacles. Being Indian, it was hard for them to fit in in France. The French are very protective of their culture and, in the film, were very ugly towards Hassan’s family. It’s ignorance and pure selfishness that really gets to me. The Earth is a shared space. Hassan’s family creating a restaurant and them wanting to share their cuisine isn’t harming anyone. It really bugged me at the parts where they were attacked and ridiculed for their culture. One of the lines in the movie really irritated me: “…they have no sense of culture.” Excuse me? There are many cultures in the world, not just French. And they have a huge sense of culture. They’re not opening a French restaurant. They’re opening an Indian restaurant.

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The restaurant space they occupied had been restaurant that shut down because of bad business. It was built in front of a 1 star Michelin restaurant. It’s apparently very difficult to be Michelin starred. Michelin inspectors go to restaurants and judge them. Michelin inspectors aren’t allowed to disclose their identity to anyone, not even their parents. If the name Michelin sounds familiar, it is that same tire company we all know of. The tire company was created by 2 brothers who thought that if they made a guide for restaurants and hotels, their customers would buy up their tires. I thought that was an interesting story. I knew that name wasn’t just a coincidence.

So being in front of 1 star Michelin restaurant was a bit of a challenge. The funniest scene was when they tried to get people to eat at their establishment. One older couple was walking their dog and the father just grabbed the dog and complimented how cute it was. Then he proceeded to walk towards to entrance of the restaurant and told them that he would feed them. The older couple, thinking they had no choice, followed him. My favorite scene was when they tried to use the daughter to get men into the restaurant. There was a guy on a bike and and all she did was smile and say “Namaste” and he tipped over. They eventually got more people eating their food.

HFJ-0181: Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) and Hassan (Manish Dayal) in DreamWorks Pictures’ charming new film “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” produced by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake and directed by Lasse Hallström. Photo: François Duhamel ©DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The romance in this movie was cute. Not because of Hassan and the French girl he meets, but because of his father and the woman who owns the restaurant across the street. Helen Mirren plays the owner and she was very against their Indian restaurant. It was a bit annoying when she pretty much insulted their way of life and the way their ran their place. But later on she warmed up to them after a bunch of Frenchmen set fire to their restaurant.

As with Hassan and the French girl…I didn’t like their love story. It was a hot mess because of the girl. She was so “bipolar” with Hassan’s success. Just because Hassan was a better chef, she acted aloof and jealous. Dude, grow up. It’s only normal that there’s someone better than you. It’s hard to accept but it’s part of life. You can’t be the best at everything. They had this on and off thing going on that made me think that they shouldn’t even be together. It was hard for her to be happy for him because of her pride. It was hard for her to be supportive of his successes.

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Hassan eventually became well known to many great restaurants in France. He was asked by an innovative restaurant in Paris to come cook in their kitchen. There he learned many techniques that we would normally never use in our own kitchens. The foods didn’t even look appetizing. He started becoming very arrogant and he had lost his sense of culture and sense of self. One night, a fellow Indian chef shares with him Indian food his wife had prepared for him. One taste had him in tears. He had missed him past and where he had come from. He had woken up from this fantasy world he was living in. He had to rediscover who he really was, so he moved back to Paris. It’s hard sometimes when we get too good at something. In this case, he went to far and the foods he was creating didn’t have a soul. The food didn’t have any meaning. And it wasn’t even about the food anymore, it was about creating works of art that had no life.

This movie teaches us about courage and acceptance. Never settle for anything. If you haven’t seen this, go see it. I saw this on Amazon Prime. It’s a movie you can watch with the whole family. I really recommend it! Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂

Audience: PG
Satisfaction factor: 9
Acting: 9
Story: 9
Direction: 9
Would I recommend: Yes

*Note: Based on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 being the worst and 10 being the best you could get in a category.

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