While summer is most definitely drawing to an end, there's still time to squeeze in a feel-good movie, and since I got some free tickets to an advance screening, I certainly couldn't say no. The Hundred-Foot Journey is based on a "beloved, best-selling novel", but I wouldn't know anything about that, because I barely read. It follows an Indian family as they attempt to open a restaurant in Europe, after a tragedy drove them from their home. After breaking down near a quaint, French village, Papa discovers that great quality food is plentiful in the area, and quickly buys up a dilapidated restaurant nearby. However, across the road is a famous, Michelin star earning restaurant, run by the competitive Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). But with talented young chef Hassan (Manish Dayal) on their side, the new Indian restaurant is certainly set to give the restaurant 200 feet away a run for its money.
It's nice to see a movie like this poke its head out from the myriad explosion filled blockbusters and silly comedies. It's clear it's catering towards a somewhat older demographic than myself, but to be honest I found this movie to be quite charming. The locations are beautiful, the actors quite delightful, and there are a good few warm laughs to be had. I certainly enjoyed the first half, getting to know the characters and really rooting for the restaurant to take off. It's in the second half, however, that things get a little stale. The story takes some very predictable turns, and the pacing seems quite off, moving way too fast in some places, and slowing right down in others. While the relationships between family members is explored in the first half, it quickly devolves into food porn territory, showcasing a variety of weird and wonderful recipes, with close ups of pots, pans and spices. Nice if you're into that kind of thing, but it certainly takes the focus off the story elements.
Still, the movie manages to retain some of its charm, and while Mirren and Dayal certainly couldn't do much with the cookie cutter plot points that pop up in the latter half, they certainly do well the rest of the way through. It's certainly not a perfect movie, but it's one that I enjoyed watching. The Hundred-Foot Journey is a nice breath of fresh air after all the generic blockbuster movies that have bombarded us over summer.
My rating: 4/5