Monday, August 18, 2014

The Hundred-Foot Journey Was Good, But Could've Used A Bit More Food

I had practically no expectations walking into The Hundred-Foot Journey. It looked like a fluffy studio attempt at food porn cinema. Well, in some ways that's exactly what made it to the screen. But Steven Knight is a very interesting writer... and I believe his script was good enough to elevate a so-so film to the next level...
That's not to say the direction wasn't on point. Lasse Hallström delivered a solid picture about family, feud, food, and love. But if this film makes any splash come Oscar season, I kind of think it'll have to be in the Adapted Screenplay category. The actors were mostly serviceable, but while I know this was based on a true story, I found the individual choices for each character surprisingly more compelling than the actors themselves. The love story is not a straight forward love story. The restaurant rivalry is not a straightforward rivalry.
Basically, a family of Indians are forced from their home and eventually decide to settle into a small town in France. Upon arriving they take up residence in an abandoned restaurant and start a new one of their own... directly across from a Michelin star restaurant.
Helen Mirren is, as always, quite excellent. And I rather liked Om Puri's performance as Manish Dayal's father. But Manish's performance does occasionally hold the film back. He's the lead after all, and it feels like he was mostly cast for his looks... awkward. Though I really liked Charlotte Le Bon. Her character was at times confusing, but in a very honest and realistic way. And I dug everything about that.
I guess when you see how many smart people wanted to have their names on the final picture (Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey) it's not much of a surprise that the film turned out as solid as it did. It's a good time. And while I wish there was a little more cooking involved on screen, I'd still recommend it as a better than average picture.

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