A good movie can be like a teleporter, taking you to far-off places, letting you immerse yourself in a new environment and, in the case of the new Lasse Hallström charmer "The Hundred-Foot Journey," allowing you to smell the masala.
This drama centers on the Kadam family from Mumbai, India. After a fire attack decimates their restaurant and takes the life of the family's matriarch, Papa Kadam (Om Puri) up and moves the family to Europe, where they'll open a new Indian restaurant.
Their van's bad brakes halt their journey in the small South of France village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. Papa falls in love with the town and buys a shuttered restaurant across the street from a very French, Michelin-starred restaurant.
It's run by the prim and proper Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), who quickly detests the Kadam family's loud and bold restaurant with its equally loud and bold flavors. Mallory and the Kadams quickly enter into an ever-escalating battle.
Papa Kadam has an ace up his sleeve, though, in his son Hassan (Manish Dayal), who might be the best chef in town. There's also a romance between Hassan and Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), a sous chef at Mallory's restaurant.
It's easy to dismiss this film as food porn. But while the delicious-looking food is front and center, the film also overflows with charm, warmth and, OK, exquisite flavor. Bon appétit.
The Hundred-Foot Journey
Directed by Lasse Hallström | Starring Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon | Rated PG