26 September 2023

The 100-Foot Journey

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Reviewed by Victor Rebikoff.


Director: Lasse Hallstrom, DreamWorks Pictures, PG 122 Minutes.

Swedish director of ‘Chocolat’ Lasse Hallstrom has adapted Richard Morais’ best-selling novel to the big screen about the Kadam family who having left India for France decide to establish an Indian restaurant 100 feet from a classy French eatery.

After arriving in France the Kadams comprising Papa (legendary Indian actor Om Puri – ‘Heartless’), sons Hassan (Manish Dayal – ‘Viceroy’s House’), Mansur (Amit Shah – ‘Howl’) daughters Mahira (Farzana Dua Elahe – ‘Prince of Persia’) and Aisha (debutante Aria Pandya) suddenly have an unexpected car accident.

They later settle on establishing their own Indian ‘Maison Mumbai’ in the small French village across the street from the acclaimed Madame Mallory (Dame Helen Mirren – ‘Woman in Gold’) diner which will be in direct competition to her French cuisine.

During their preparation for the opening Hassan forms a friendship with Mallory’s chef Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon – ‘Bastille Day’) but then becomes incensed when he and Papa discover that Madame has purchased all the necessary foodstuffs for their opening night.

With the intense rivalry breaking-out between both restaurateurs Mallory the snobbish owner of the Michelin star restaurant resorts to having the Indian establishment burnt down as Hassan attempts to ameliorate the situation by making her a French-style omelet.

Much to his surprise Mallory is ecstatic over the dish in spite of the Indian spices and engages Hassan as a chef alongside herself and Marguerite once she agrees on the salary negotiated by Papa.

Soon after the widowed Mallory has warmed to the entire Kadam family especially improving her relationship with Papa as Hassan receives the much coveted second Michelin star by the end of the year to Mallory’s considerable delight.

In acknowledging Hassan’s achievement Mallory announces that he and his new love-interest Marguerite are to be the new partners of her restaurant which puts an end to the cultural cuisine wars.

Although Hallstrom’s culinary drama is an entertaining experience even coopting Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey as producers it does appear to lack some essential ingredients to ensure the storyline is more satisfying to the palate.

Apart from Puri’s perennial portrayal one cannot go past Mirren’s magnificent performance in quite a different role requiring a pretentious French accent and complemented by a deliciously ensemble cast molded within some fabulous French and Indian settings.

THE 100 FOOT JOURNEY will be shown on Channel 7flix on FRIDAY 8 May at 8.30PM

Vic’s Verdict: 3 ½ Stars

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