Differences exist. We all co-exist as a melting pot of cultures that must learn to love, appreciate and tolerate each other. But sometimes stubbornness can rot at our hearts. But even compost serves a greater purpose, if you know what I mean. I had the pleasure to preview this delightful movie, the 100 Foot Journey, while in Los Angeles for the 100 Foot Journey Event a few weeks ago and enjoyed every ounce of the performances by Helen Mirren and newcomer Manish Dayal.
Hassan Kadam (played by Manish Dayal) and his family are displaced from their native India. They settle in a small French town to open a restaurant, but once the ice-queen proprietress of the French restaurant across the street, Madame Mallory (played by Helen Mirren), catches wind of it, she gives them hell.
- Helen Mirren as Madame Mallory
- Om Puri as Papa
- Manish Dayal as Hassan Haji
- Charlotte Le Bon as Marguerite
- Amit Shah as Mansour
- Juhi Chawla
- Rohan Chand as Young Hassan Haji
At it’s core, this movie is about how food is the one commonality that can bind us and bring us all together even when cultural differences sear into a person’s heart and makes them hard., Breaking bread with your breathen over a good meal and learning about what makes them unique can make a huge difference.
Manish Dayal is iconic in this movie. As a man of Indian descent he is making a huge achievement with his raw and engaging performance showing a range of emotions that make you feel for him. In the movie, Hassan, works doing what he loves –cooking– and helps his ornery father live out this dream to have a real restaurant in the unwelcoming European countryside, perhaps 100 FEET, from a well established European upscale restaurant run by Dame Mallory (Mirren)
And Mirren plays her role to perfection. Stubborn as a mule, she does everything to prevent this new foreign family from invading her space. She’s snotty and mean with her nose in the air full of arrogance. But a feud between the family ends up wearing both sides down. They call a truce after she discovers Hassan’s skillful cooking and she wants him to join her ranks in her well-known restaurant.
There’s a lot of pressure to produce a great meal and the new movie 100 Foot Journey movie, produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey takes you on a journey of a young aspiring chef and his family and the pressure it takes to cook up great meals in a city that doesn’t quite suit them and how food can be the catalyst that breaks down bitterness and hate when cultures clash. You’ll love Madame Mallory–trust me, you will. And the ensemble that makes up the Indian family — Om Puri as Papa,, Charlotte Le Bon as Marguerite and Amit Shah as Mansour, Hassan’s brother, have excellent and notable performances as a family unit that loves deep and teaches us all strong lessons about putting family first and how togetherness conquers all.
100 Foot Journey is an intelligent, heartwarming and engaging story about crossing the cultural divide — taking the big chances outside one’s comfort zone to turn the page to the next chapter of life. It’s the kind of adventure story you are truly meant to live. Go hungry, with friends, to see this movie on August 8th, then dine and discuss it. Perhaps you, too, will be inspired to take a journey.
THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (8/8/14)
Disclosure: I was invited to an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles for the 100-Foot-Journey event, but all opinions are my own.