Indian drama with a side of French charm

Indian drama with a side of French charm
The Hundred-Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren (right) and Manish Dayal (left).

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (PG)
Drama/122 minutes/Opens today

Rating: 3.5/5

The story: Based on the novel by Richard C. Morais, the movie follows the journey of the Kadam family, who move out of Mumbai after their restaurant gets torched.

They end up in France, where Papa Kadam (Om Puri) decides to set up a restaurant at the perfect location in a quaint village. The catch, however, is that it is right across from a Michelin-starred French restaurant, owned by snooty native Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), who does not take very well to the competition.

A battle of sorts takes place, but it is nothing as fiery as the masala the Kadam family use in their food. This is the kind of movie I would watch on a rainy day, with a mug of Milo in hand and time to waste.

The names behind the movie are impressive - it is produced by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake - but do not expect too much.

The story simmers slowly and predictably, with a dash of Indian drama, a tablespoon of French charm and a large helping of stereotypes.

The stubborn, domineering, and sometimes funny father role played by Puri is convincing and shines as the most well-developed character.

He leads his five children on his own, after his wife dies in the restaurant fire in India.

His son Hassan, played by Manish Dayal, takes over his mother's role of cooking at the Indian restaurant they set up in France.

Hassan's talent is unmistakable, as he brings food to life with the spices left behind by his mother.

His skills know no boundaries, as he is helped by his friend, lover, fellow chef and later rival, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), whom the Kadam family meet early in the movie.

Marguerite works as a sous chef at Madame Mallory's restaurant, and is Hassan's teacher as he learns how to cook French food.

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