By now, I’m sure media gods Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg have found a way to advertise their new culinary flick The Hundred Foot Journey onto a screen near you. Especially if you watch Food Network.
And, if you’re like me, you think you know exactly what to expect from this movie.
Let me tell you a not-so-secret secret. You’re right. This movie has no surprises. Well, very few surprises. But that is absolutely no reason for you not to go see it, because this film is delicious, clever and truly heartwarming.
Because I’m the obnoxious straight-A type who joins clubs and writes essays for fun (think Brian from The Breakfast Club) I am the secretary of my LCB Campus’s Student Advisory Committee because I like typing notes. And, because my fellow culinary geeks are over achievers like me, we received VIP passes to see The Hundred Foot Journey a week before it hit theaters.
And then because I’m on the President’s List for holding a 4.0, I got another pass to the other premier. (This time not VIP, but still four days before the actual movie released.)
So, before this movie was even released, I’d seen it twice.
And I would still pay to see it again.
The film focuses on Hassan Kadam, a culinary prodigy who can do no wrong in the kitchen. When his family is forced to relocate from Mumbai to a small village in France, Hassan’s stubborn father purchases an abandoned restaurant across the street–a hundred feet–away from a Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurant, run by the snobbish and sophisticated Madame Mallory. Hassan’s miraculous kitchen ways eventually win over the austere Madame Mallory, as well as the affections of her charming sous chef Marguerite. Hassan skyrockets to fame as ‘a chef who can bring down the stars’ (Michelin stars, that is) and his victory is almost as delicious as the dishes he creates.
There’s a little bit of everything for everyone in this film. There’s conflict. Drama. Felonies and fire. There’s wit and humor, enough to coax a chuckle or two out of everyone in the theater. There’s romance, and at the heart of it all, the deepest kind of love–the love for food, and way it brings people together, no matter how vast the space between them may seem.
As a culinary student entering the industry (as of this month, I have one year of kitchen work under my belt, hooray!) I was able to relate to the story and the passion Hassan has for food. And the flawless Helen Mirren brings such delicate depth to Madame Malory it is impossible to leave the theater without a sincere appreciation for the world of culinary arts and its prominent figures.
If there is any advice I can pass on to you, it’s this: don’t go see this film on an empty stomach. Theater popcorn will not fill the gaping hole left in your gut when this film is over. You will want curry. You will want fresh cheese, bread baked by hand, sea urchin from the market. You will want ripe tomatoes and fresh mushrooms.
And you will wish your car brakes failed in the South of France.
Perhaps I’m a bit prejudiced because I have an unhealthy addiction to culinary movies (No Reservations is on the top of the list, right up there with Chef, which was released a few months ago and is more than worthwhile to see) but I think The Hundred Foot Journey is a film that will leave you hungry for a taste of the restaurant life.
Go see it.