HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Hundred Foot Journey
HTS Overall Score:86
When a novel to movie adaptation comes out that I’m reviewing I usually like to read the novel ahead of time, in order to grasp the changes and try to compare against the original source to sort of “fill in the blanks”. Due to the Thanksgiving holidays and the influx of family I wasn’t able to follow my standard tradition and had to go into the movie blind. I almost liked it better this way, since I really didn’t know much about the book or the movie itself beside the fact that countless people told me that I had to see it. I went in with mediocre expectations and came out really enjoying the film on a level that I didn’t realize I would enjoy it on. The story has some well-trod Hollywood tropes, but the love and exquisite attention to detail with the food creates a story that truly resonates, especially with those of us who are avid foodies.
The Kadam family move to Europe after the death of the matriarch due to political unrest, and moves from area to area in an effort to find a new home. Running a restaurant in Mumbai, the family finally settles on the little French town of Saint-Atonin-Noble-Val, due to the plethora of excellent tasting food grown there. Against the advice of his children, Papa Kadam (Om Puri) buys a rundown old restaurant in an effort to bring Indian cuisine to France. The problem that his children foresaw was the fact that his new location is right across the street from a famed “One-Star” restaurant. 100 feet away from each other to be precise. Undaunted, Papa opens up the restaurant and his entire family goes back to their old routines as cooks, servers and the like. The owner of this famed French restaurant, one Madam Mallory (Helen Mirren), takes gross offense at the Indian family’s ethnic differences, their loud noises, and the seemingly low brow nature of their restaurant vs. the famed One Star rated restaurant that she has run for decades (for those of you who don’t know, a one star rated restaurant in France is an incredible honor, a two star restaurant is considered an amazing feat, and a three star rating is only given to the gods).
The eldest son, Hassan (Manish Dayal), is the rebel here, while he loves his traditional upbringing he also has a fascination with different foods. Being in France and knowing their culture is one thing, but he desires to know their food as well. As the two restaurant owners are duking it out over the right to survive in Saint-Atonin-Noble-Val, he and Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), a sous chef over at Madam Mallory’s restaurant, form a relationship that enables Hassan to get an “in” with Madam Mallory. It seems that Madam Mallory has an incredible palate, with the ability to judge a cooks potential by having them cook her an omelet and taking just one bite. After the last bombs have been dropped in the war between the restaurants, Hassan takes an opportunity to cook an omelet for her, and propels himself to stardom.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=34369[/img]This stardom comes at a price, for while Hassan becomes greater than any of the chef’s before him in both his family and Mallory’s restaurant, there is something missing. The entire movie presses into you the how the right ingredients, and the right amount love put into a dish is what truly makes it great, and all this time spent abroad in the greatest restaurants of Paris leaves Hassan empty and his food not tasting as good to his palate. As you can already guess, we have a very happy home coming as Hassan comes back full circle, to both the town, and the reality that cooking is a labor of love, not just skill.
“The Hundred Foot Journey” is a family movie that really tugs at the heart strings of those who enjoy food as art. I’m a ridiculous foodie and spend countless hours in the kitchen making something new and exciting for friends, family and the like. Whether it’s Indian food, Thai, Japanese, Mexican, Italian or any other type of cooking, there is always that work of art waiting to come out. The movie fully embraces that mantra and paints a visual picture of that art in its 2 hour run time. So much food passes in front of your eyes that my stomach started growling less than 30 minute into it. By the end I was ravenously hungry and my brain was completely obsessed with Indian and French cousin. So much so that I was raiding my pantry and writing up a list of missing ingredients to go make some Coconut chicken and Tikka Masala.
There’s a few plot points that are a bit well used and tend to lean towards the Disney happy happy clichés, but the movie just worked on so many different levels that they were easily forgivable. Helen Mirren does a great job as Madame Mallory and Om Puri and Danash Dayal knocked it straight out of the park. You could see the love that they held for their craft in every dish they created on screen. From the simple recipes to the complex moments where Hassan is sweating over a delicate French sauce. Blend in the wonder cinematography and you have a film that’s both beautiful and heartwarming that is good for the whole family.
Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=34377[/img]Disney always does a good job with their day and date releases on home video and this single disc Blu-ray looks absolutely superb and hovers just on the cusp of being a 5 star transfer. Colors look simply amazing as we are introduced to the Kadam family in Mumbai, India. Covered in a burnt orange grading, the film is saturated quite heavily with every color of the rainbow and many of its combinations to create a luscious and tempting canvas to display in our home theaters. Contrasts look excellent, with incredibly natural skin tones, that only every once in a while take on a ruddy hue due to the burnt orange push. Black levels look incredible, for the most part, but there are a few scenes where crush started to seep in and shadow detail gets lost due to the thick impenetrable blacks present during those instances. The clarity of the film makes every bit of cuisine pop off the screen and makes you want, nay beg to reach through that screen and just pluck the delicacies from the plate or pot. As a rabid foodie I thought I was going to have a heart attack as I watched some of the most sumptuous pieces of Indian cuisine dance just out of reach, hidden behind my projector screen. Simply superb and even with those few flaws that I mentioned, the image manages to please in just about every way.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=34385[/img]Disney’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA track handles its job better than expected for such a dialogue centric film, giving us plenty of detail to marvel at and even includes a few surprises. The track ends up being much more rousing and immersive than would think, as the film’s opening sequence soon proves. The rousing Indian music surrounds and envelopes the user, giving a lively tone to the movie and soon intertwines with some more laid back and classical French influences as the movie moves its location to the French countryside. Surrounds are always active with the sounds of a busy restaurant kitchen and the little French town has more than enough activity and bustle to keep them active even when there’s no food in sight. Dialogue is robust and clean, never hindered by any unbalance in the rest of the mix and given some nice presence in the front sound stage. LFE is deep and powerful when needed, blending just as seamlessly as Hassan’s spices in with the rest of the movie. It’s never an action oriented movie level of Bass, but it has a throaty feel to it that is impressive for sure.
• "The Hundred-Foot Journey" with Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey
• The Recipe, The Ingredients, The Journey
• On Set with Oprah Winfrey
• Coconut Chicken
Despite the inclusion of some paint by the numbers storytelling, “The Hundred Foot Journey” is an incredibly satisfying and filling meal in and of itself. The plotlines about romance and inclusion are secondary to the storytelling done by the creation of the food itself. Passionately told, it tells the story of humans and their adoration and devotion to creating beauty in their own ways. Some people do it through painting, others sculpting, and others do it through the ability to make people feel and smile after tasting just one bite of a meal. Disney doesn’t disappoint on the audio and video and the extras, albeit rather short in quantity, make up for it with some excellent quality (especially with the inclusion of the Coconut Chicken recipe, which turned out fantastic by the way). Definitely recommended as a sweet and delectable family oriented movie.
Starring: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon
Directed By: Lasse Hallström
Written By: Steven Knight (Screenplay) Richard C. Morais
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 122 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: December 2nd 2014
Buy The Hundred Foot Journey Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It
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