I’m a sucker for a foodie flick (as illustrated by my Top Foodie Flicks post), and my family knows it.
So, on a recent Saturday night when I was happily ensconced by the fireplace with a magazine and a glass of wine, I knew they had my number when they started snickering and told me they’d found a movie I might like to watch.
And by “my family,” in this case I mean my husband and eleven year old burgeoning cook. We are in a a phase of not watching movies with the four year old due to her wiggling tendencies and quarantined her in her room with a rainbow pony show.
Their snickering was a result of them knowing me so well, I suppose. They asked if I wanted to watch the preview for the movie we were about to watch, which seemed like a study in wasted time to me… but I agreed. Three minutes later, I was nearly in tears from being so overwhelmed by the music, virtual aromas and visual splendor we were about to inhale.
The Hundred Foot Journey is simply delicious.
From the tension of stuffy French restaurateur Helen Mirren in a standoff with comical and stubborn Maison Mumbai proprietor Om Puri to the gorgeous scenes of Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon strolling with their bikes by the river in a rural French ville, I was taken.
This 2014 film by Swedish director Lasse Hallström is gorgeous and decadent. Within a few scenes there was eye candy ranging from sea urchins at a public market in Mumbai to a tapas-style spread of larder staples in a small French town.
There was little doubt that the director of Chocolat – one of my other favorite foodie flicks – would deliver another feast for the senses. I still found myself overwhelmed, from the languages and accents dancing throughout the film in sharp juxtaposition (truly one of my favorite things in life, as I’ve recently written) to the vibrant colors and resplendent scenes.
After I turned to my husband five minutes in (without taking my eyes off the screen) to say “I’m going to need intermittent pauses because I’m already overwhelmed by it all,” he gamely paused the movie. Our oldest objected to the stop in the action, and he walked off laughing toward the kitchen to refill our wine glasses.
“We have to give Mom a few minutes to soak it all in.”
Guilty as charged.
Couple all that with my sheer delight in the nuances of Indian food, kitchen accoutrements and customs (read my series on Northern Indian Food with my friend Srividya here) and you’ve got a movie that’s bound to get a thumbs up from me.
I nearly came unglued at the scene (brilliantly revealed deep into the movie) where the spices from Hassan’s mother are shared with him. Learning about my friend Vidya’s spice sampler was one of my favorite moments in her kitchen.
With all that said: if you’re the slightly caustic type and prone to calling out improbable details or consider yourself a bit of a film critic or movie snob (as many of the commenters on IMDB apparently do), maybe you should give this film a skip.
But on the off chance you’re reading this post because you share my delight in the decadent, the improbable and the shameless food film, settle in for a winner that will make your heart soar.
All photos are from The Hundred Foot Journey Facebook page, which also contains recipes and other bonus content for foodies.