Hundred Foot Journey posterThe Hundred-Foot Journey has all the ingredients for an arty-mainstream crossover dish, ala The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It doesn’t hurt that the film has the producer power of Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey behind it, and the star power of Helen Mirren. But it’s also got a solid cast and a relatable story peppered with drama, comedy and romantic chemistry. It is, quite simply, a feel-good movie with intergenerational appeal.

The movie takes place primarily in a quaint village in the south of France where a displaced family from India led by patriarch ‘Papa’ Kadam (Om Puri) chooses to settle down and open a new restaurant, the Maison Mubmai. Problem is, the restaurant sits directly across the street from a Michelin-starred classical French restaurant run by the chilly and competitive Madame Mallory (Mirren). A culinary and culture clash ensues.

Caught in the middle – is Hassan Kadam, played by the extremely engaging Manish Dayal. Hassan is a cook with the talent and drive to become a Top Chef – if circumstances should allow. He draws ideas and inspiration from his frenemy Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), a skilled and ambitious sous chef in Madame Mallory’s male-dominated kitchen. Hassan and Marguerite share an obvious appreciation for the art of cooking – and each other- but the neighborhood food feud threatens to get in the way of their budding romance, especially after Madame Mallory begrudgingly recognizes Hassan’s gift and takes him under her wing.

The Hundred-Foot Journey (based on the international best-seller by Richard C. Morais) uses humor, heart and a dash of drama to tell a sweet little tale that is ultimately about family, friendship, and finding one’s place in the world. It’s cinematic comfort food. So dig in.

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