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The hundred-foot journey

After Chef, The hundred-food journey was another food themed movie released last year.     

The hundred-food journey is based on a book Truffles and Tandoori from Richard C. Morais.

The story
Young Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a passionate cook. He learns how to cook from his family who owns a restaurant in India. One day that restaurant is burnt during a riot, Hassan’s mother dies in the fire. The family leaves India for Europe to start over. They land in the UK but choose to travel further to France where they finally settle in a small village Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France by accident. 

There Hassan and his family, led by papa (Om Puri), open an Indian restaurant, Maison Mumbai, hunderd foot in front of a classic French restaurant with Michelin stars run by the strict restaurateur, madame Mallory (Hellen Mirren), Le Saule Pleureur. With his passion for cooking Hassan would love to work with madame Mallory but the latter sabotages his Indian restaurant. And papa doesn’t let him to do so. 

Hassan falls in love with Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), a young girl who helps his family the first time they stranded in the village. Marguerite works as a sous-chef at La Saule Pleureur. From her Hassan learns to cook French cuisine. Finally he is able to work with madame Mallory. He even succeeds in gaining Michelin stars for that establishment, making him a star in a culinary world. At the end, just like a fairy tale, everybody is happy.

My review 

This movie is visually stunning but the story is so predictable. It is like eating a very good dish lacking the umami. After watching it I am confused as The hunderd-foot journey contains ingredients I love: Food checked, France checked and India checked too but it does not completely deliver. In my point of view the story tries so hard to depict an ideal world where enemies become friends at the end. However it doesn’t work that way in real life. 

Take the location of the movie. Both restaurants are located on a provincial street outside the village. I have been to such quaint small French villages. I understand if La Saule Pleureur is packed every night, but Maison Mumbai? How do people know of this restaurant? Are the French in such places eager to taste new cuisine? I doubt it. How does the family Kaddam survive on two or four guests every day? 

Regarding the Michelin star, I also raised my eyebrow. Knowing a bit about this world, it seems rare for a young upcoming chef to have it all after winning a star in a short time. Especially in France where countless aspiring young chefs fight for it. And remember, the kitchen is a hard place to work, I mean the hierarchy is still very much alive there. One has to climb to the top.

Despite two points above, I still enjoyed the movie though. The scenery is breathtaking. When Hassan and Marguerite go on a picknick up on a hill or on a riverbank, that is France I know, La douce France. 

And of course the food: Colourful Indian curries and fine French sauces seduce me for a tasting session. Vegetables, fruits, breads, sausages and fishes are so fresh looking. Salute to the stylist!

Hellen Mirren (madame Mallory) and Om Puri (papa Kadam) are senior actors who lift this movie performance wise. Actually Dame Mirren was nominated for the Golden Globe for her role as best performance.  Another plus point for this movie is Hindi language besides English and a bit of French.

Behind the scene there are big names involved. The director; Lasse Hallström who directed a number of good movies such as Chocolat (Johnny Depp & Juliet Binoche) and What’s eating Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp & young Leonardo Dicaprio), The Cider House Rules (Tobey Maguire, Michael Caine, Charlize Theron). The producers are Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey. Looking at these names my expectations were high about this movie at first but unfortunately it doesn’t meet them. 

And that is about it. Perhaps my attitude towards the – predictable, sugary, everybody loves each other story – comes from a fact that I live in The Netherlands. Here Dutchies (or dare I say North Europeans?) categorize such story as typical American, which requires the happy ending. It is too sweet. Then I realize it is entertainment. People need a happy ending, albeit on a big screen. And voilà, although I am not raving it like I was with Chef, I give it a 7 for everything except the story, it earns a 6. 


23 thoughts on “The hundred-foot journey

  1. Jadi terkesan nonton ini merantau ke negara lain itu sangat mudah ya mbak, emang benar bekerja dapur alias koki itu lebih tajam dari pada pisau.
    Walau alur bisa di tebak tapi lumayan buat di tonton ya mbak..

  2. Try the book version, mba.
    Lebih coming-of-age hidupnya Hassan.
    Aku keduluan nih, mau bikin postingan book vs movie-nya The Hundred Foot Journey sebenarnya.

  3. Kalau dibanding dengan Chef, yang ini masih agak kurang ya Mbak?
    Saya suka banget film Chef. Tapi lihat nama Helen memang jadi agak tertarik nontonnya.

  4. Reading the names behind I definitely put a high expectation. Knowing how the story goes I can only think so Hollywood before getting to the part you wrote it Mbak Yo. Hihihi.

  5. Film ini mengambil tema dapur romantis kah? Agaknya emang romantis, tapi habis baca review Mbak Yo, sepertinya kurang berhasil di logika cerita.

  6. Good point Mbak Yo, kebanyakan film Amerika selalu berakhir dengan happy ending (dan gak menggigit). Sepertinya kalau dibikin ngegantung gak bakalan laku.

    Film ini nampaknya layak ditonton, tapi tidak dalam keadaan lapar. Terus nontonnya harus di deket restaurant India yang enak. Biar langsung mampir.

  7. Gue selalu suka nonton film yg berbau chef atau masak2 gt 🙂 Walaupun agak ga masuk akal tp kayaknya lumayan ditonton kalo setting nya bagus dan menghibur. Ada lagi film yg gue suka yg masih related sama masak2, Today’s Special dan The Ramen Girl. Kalo yg terakhir disebut ini masuk kategori Hollywood movie laahh..cuma suka aja karena setting nya di Jepang :p

    • Iya, gw karena foodie suka lihat film ttg masak, bisa fokus ke makanannya. Cerita kurang logis, sudahlah, nrimo ini entertainment 🙂

  8. Aku sukaaaaa film ini terutama sih karena ngeliatin makanan-makanannya. Dan aku masih suka american stories yang happily ever after gitu, bikin tidur jadi lebih tenang. Kalo kisah2 yang ujungnya gantung suka kebawa jadi pikiran.

    • Aku juga suka film makanan. Mengenai ceritanya yang ngamerika, hmmm gimana ya. Untuk aku ending ngga apa-apa sih happy tapi storylinenya terlalu sweet 😉

  9. I also have seen this movie and understand how it feels unreal how an Indian cuisine can survive there. It did felt American with forced happy ending. But I enjoyed it and loved the food too!

  10. eh tapi aku rasa aku suka film masak-masak begini mbak. soalnya gw suka liat makanan yang bewarna warni di piring, cakep banget. dulu juga bela-belain nonton drama korea feast of gods sampe 40 seri karena masakan koreanya bagus-bagus.
    suka banget juga sama julie and julia meski rada garing juga ceritanya.
    i will surely watch this. thank you for the reference mbak.

  11. Kadang saya kecewa kalo filmnya happy ending gitu 🙂 . baru dengar film ini, eat pray love tuh nonton berkali kali bikin saya makan spaghetti setelah nonton filmnya. Kuatir kalo nonton film ini bikin kepengen restoran india kan gak dimana-mana ada, masak sendiri juga ribet *pemalas

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