The Hundred Foot Journey looks exciting from the trailer: funny, evocative and sure to make you hungry, regardless of if you’ve eaten.
The Hundred Foot Journey looks exciting from the trailer: funny, evocative and sure to make you hungry, regardless of if you’ve eaten. It boasts Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey as producers and stars BAFTA, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Helen Mirren.
With all the ingredients (pun intended) for a seriously good film, it garnered, from me at least, high expectations.
Too long and too few laughs
The film tells of the Kadam family, they leave India after their restaurant is set alight and they lose everything to settle in a beautiful town in France. The bold head of the family, played by Om Puri, decides they will open a restaurant in France with his talented son, Hassan, as chef.
It all comes to boil when they open and are one hundred feet away from a Michelin starred restaurant, run by the formidable Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren).
Though it sounds like an exciting premise, there should be touching moments relating to culture blended with hilarious antics to outdo the other side, it falls slightly short. All the comical moments are almost all in the trailer for the film, and they are brilliant in context but there ought to have been more.
The potential for hilarity was huge and yet the it wasn’t particularly funny when it could have been. Overall, it seems a little too static and monotone, the heat needed turning up so we could enjoy stronger emotions. As it was a little too flavourless, it seemed too long and drawn out too, and it felt as if the story was dragging, particularly towards the end.
Mirren proves her talent
Mirren’s performance, though, was particularly noteworthy. She never falters, even though her French accent seems a little off, it never slips. Unfortunately, Manish Dayal’s (Hassan) does have an American edge to it near the end of the film, confusing because in the film he is not at all American, it should either be Indian or French.
At the beginning, she is easy to hate. Her high standards and apparent lack of emotion make it easy to root for Hassan. When Mirren unceremoniously throws Hassan’s cooked pigeon in the bin, declaring that he wasted his time, we vow to never forgive her.
Yet, when she fires her chef who organised setting the Kadam’s new restaurant on fire and scrubs off graffiti on their wall, we can’t help but warm to her.
She invites Hassan to come and cook at her restaurant for six months and from there we go on root for Madame Mallory as much as Hassan. That is enough to show just how talented an actress Mirren is. We are left crossing our fingers as she waits anxiously to hear if her restaurant has gained a coveted second Michelin star.
Missing the cherry on top
Whilst Mirren evokes some real emotions in the audience, there still isn’t enough to make the film great. The clichés keep adding up as there is the usual mix of romance, ambition and the underdog story, but because we miss those brilliantly funny or emotional moment, everything falls a little flat.
It makes you hungry, that’s for sure, but I expected a little more. It is just a little too bland, which is an unfortunate irony because the Kadam’s promise to turn up the heat.
Kettle Rating: 3/5
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