The Hundred-Foot Journey

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Starring Academy Award winner Helen Mirren (Best Actress, The Queen, 2006), produced by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake, and directed by Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat), this uplifting story bursts with flavor, passion and heart.  When the chilly chef proprietess of a Michelin-starred French restaurant in southern France (Mirren) gets wind of a culinary immigrant opening an Indian restaurant just 100 feet from her own, her icy protests escalate to all-out war between the two establishments.  It’s a celebration of triumph over exile as these two worlds collide and one young man tries to find the comfort of home in every pot–wherever he may be.(Courtesy of the back of the dvd case.  See the theatrical trailer below, taken from The Hundred-Hundred Foot Journey’s YouTube channel.)

This is the first movie I’m going to talk about here and I’m pretty happy with that.  I intend to do posts like this now and then about movies I borrow from my local library, films I stream through Kentucky Libraries Unbound, and perhaps also movies and shows based on books.  In this case, I borrowed the movie from my local library on Saturday and watched it twice over the weekend.  I honestly like it that much, but before I get into why, here are some specifics you might want to know about the movie:

  • The movie is rated PG and very wholesome.  It would be appropriate for the entire family, however it will not hold the interest of younger ones.  Probably teens at the youngest.
  • The movie is just a little over 2 hours long.
  • There is some Hindi in the movie.  I kind of wish I knew exactly what they were saying, but it isn’t necessary at all.

I don’t think this can really qualify as a review, because I am not going to tell you the ups and downs of this movie.  I loved it all, everything: the story, the dialogue, scenery, music, wardrobe, hair and makeup.  The thing that really strikes me about this movie is just that it’s filled to the brim with surprises.  I was so surprised as to how much I related to this story and how much I think anyone who grew up learning southern cooking from their mama and their granny could relate to this movie.  Food is love and the tastes and smells that come along with it can always bring us home.  Tasting those flavors when you’re away from home can be the remedy for your homesickness–sort of a way of taking home with you wherever you go–and feel like a warm hug or they can leave the bittersweet aftertaste of longing.  I was genuinely moved by their poignant portrayal of this unique feeling.  I was dumbstruck by how surprising Helen Mirren’s character was for me.  I hated Madame Mallory in the beginning of the movie, so much so that it led to a very undignified Facebook post concerning my wish to “smack the taste out of her mouth.”  She is, however, gifted in the art of sass!  I loved to hate her, and if I had to play the black hat in a movie, oh, she would be a top choice.  There is also an unlikely love story (though, maybe you can guess) which in my opinion absolutely steals the show.  I will be recommending this movie to anyone who will listen, and likely some who would rather not.

Spoilers are coming!!!  Spoilers are coming.

Here are some of my favorite parts of The Hundred-Foot Journey.

My Favorite Quotes:


Hassan’s mother:  “Life has its own flavor.”


Immigration Officer to Mahira: “Well, Mahira, we just need to establish that you’re not being taken to Europe for an arranged marriage.”

Mahira:  “Trust me, nothing in this family is arranged.”


Madame Mallory to Papa:  “I heard you asked for a discount at Claude’s Hotel.”

Papa to Madame Mallory:  “Madame, asking for discount doesn’t mean I’m poor.  It means I am thrifty.”


Madame Mallory:  “I am rarely accused of being in sympathy with anyone.


Papa:  “If you have a spice, use it!  Don’t sprinkle it.  Spoon it in!


Favorite Scene:

The Deal.  Papa and Madame Mallory haggle over Hassan’s salary.  Nobody asks Hassan.

Favorite Character:

The me who started watching this movie would not believe I am saying this, and would likely want to cut my hands off for my trouble, but I loved Madame Mallory!  She was deliciously devious in the beginning, but by the end I wanted to cheer her on and found myself wishing she would be my sassy best friend.

I highly recommend this film to anyone.  I also highly recommend taping down everything in your home so that you don’t throw it at Madame Mallory and perhaps watching it in a soundproof room.  I also suggest having snacks handy.  This movie can make you so hungry.  Go watch it.  I’ll be here waiting to say I told you so.

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