By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
One film that I had been anticipating this summer is The Hundred-Foot Journey.
Produced by Hollywood powerhouses Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, The Hundred-Foot Journey focuses on the story of Hassan Haji (Manish Dayal) and his family. Hassan’s family escaped from India as their family business with attacked by rioters as a fire burned everything (and his mother) to the ground.
After spending an unsuccessful year in London, the family moved to a small town in France, where Hassan’s father (Bollywood legend Om Puri) rekindles his passion for the culinary industry and decides to re-open his restaurant in the small French town. This news does not go well with Madame Malloy (Dame Helen Mirren), who owns a posh French restaurant…100 feet away from the Hajis.
While Hassan’s father and Madame Malloy lock horns and try to up their opponents by sabotaging each other, Hassan begins to explore the French culinary world and finds a friendly rival (turned lover) in Madame Malloy’s sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon).
There are several factors that make this culinary romantic dramedy…a success! The first factor was the performances of Dayal, Mirren and Puri. Dayal (in his first leading cinematic role) successfully brought the thoughts and feelings of a rising chef to life. In addition, Mirren continued to prove she is one of cinema’s grand dames with her superb performance as the icy and haughty restaurateur. Puri also rounds out the incredible trio of scene-stealers with his take as Hassan’s feisty and determined father.
Another huge factor was Steven Knight’s screenplay! He was able to weave several elements of classic themes such as rivalry, tragedy and triumph and emotions such as love, hatred, determination and xenophobia into a beautiful two-hour and two-minute film.
Final thoughts: The Hundred-Foot Journey is a strong film that showcases that despite different backgrounds and tastes…food brings people together. A-