Anyone who has eaten in even an average French restaurant knows that a meal in that country is nearly always wonderful. The Hundred-Foot Journey celebrates fine food and cooking in a way that we seldom see in steak and fast food Alberta. It’s also a double romance and a plea for racial tolerance.
An Indian family, with a background in cooking and restaurants back in India, is wandering through Europe when their brakes fail near a charming French town. The father, veteran Indian actor Om Puri, decides to open an Indian restaurant there and he has a secret weapon; a master chef son (Manish Dayal). Of course, their restaurant is located across the road (the 100 feet of journey) from an upper class French restaurant, the proud recipient of one star from the highly regarded Michelin Guide.
Helen Mirren is wonderful as the haughty manager of the French restaurant. She isn’t happy with the new neighbours, her main quest in life is to get her restaurant a second Michelin star. She goes out of her way to stop them, but she is in for a big culinary surprise.
This is a heartwarming, sometimes bland movie with an evolving relationship between Mirren and Puri, and a romance between Dayal and Montreal’s own Charlotte Le Bon, playing one of Mirren’s sous chefs. Oprah Winfrey and Stephen Spielberg helped produce. Strangely, for a movie that celebrates cooking, you don’t come away with a strong desire for Indian or French food.
Rating: four deer out of five
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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.