THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY *** (PG, 122 mins) Starring Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon, Amit Shah, Farzana Dua Elahe, Dillon Mitra. Director: Lasse Hallstrom
MADE to a tried and tested recipe laid out in Richard C Morais’s novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey is an uplifting comedy drama charting a battle of wits between two restaurateurs in a close-knit French village.
It’s a familiar story of feuds and reconciliation, love and loss, laced with the heady aromas of one family’s proud Indian heritage.
There are crowd-pleasing performances from Helen Mirren and Om Puri as fierce rivals, who learn to see eye-to-eye over the simmering saucepans.
The handsome confection is all comfort food for the soul.
Myriad scenes of chefs searing fresh meats and fishes, or lovingly stirring the ingredients of thick sauces, tantalise the senses and make your mouth water.
The Hundred-Foot Journey trades heavily on the spiky banter between Mirren and Puri, the former adopting a cod-French accent as she tells the Kadams, “If your food is anything like your music, I suggest you tone it down.”
The interplay between them is a solid and appealing foundation for a sweet romantic sub-plot between Dayal and Le Bon.
When the script veers into slightly darker territory, and adds the poisonous tang of fame to the feel-good mix, the film stumbles.
But thankfully, director Hallstrom restores balance with a last-minute dollop of shameless sentimentality to ensure audiences leave with their hearts filled with joy.