Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

Lasse Hallstrom returns with a familiar offering of the feel-good drama, though one, despite what you see in the film, lacking any meat or spice. Hey, at least it is far better than the recent Hallstrom efforts 'Dear John' and 'Safe Haven' (but I guess 'Hundred-Foot Journey' benefits by not being a Nicholas Sparks adaptation - his books tend to be cinematic poison).

Despite the imperial unit of measurement in the title, 'Hundred-Foot Journey' is set in France (I guess it is a more friendly title than 'The Thirty-Ish-Metre Journey'). After being forced out of their home country of India, a family, led by Om Puri in stubborn father mode (about the only role I ever see him in), travel around Europe looking for a place to settle. After the brake son their car fail and they fall to their death they end up in a small village in France, which is also home to a restaurant owned by Helen Mirren. Om Puri decides that this would be a good place to start up an Indian restaurant and so he does. For a while he and Mirren squabble until Puri's eldest son is hired by Mirren because he has the 'it' chefs need (but of course) and could go on to great things.

The film is happy to regurgitate clichés at you for a couple of hours and there aren't any surprises hidden in it. It also appears to lose its drive as it approaches the end, but still feels the need to complete the story. You can split the film into three sections, which each section being shorter/more rushed than the one before it. Still, the film felt harmless overall and not unpleasant. There is some entertainment in it, even if it isn't the most rewarding film to watch. And, among other 2014 food-based films, it was preferable to 'Chef' (if you can call that 'food-based'. It was more about social networking).

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