For those of you who did not know, I grew up in Dubai. We had a housekeeper as most families did. She and her husband lived behind our house in a small two room servants quarters. Twice a year we left our home because our visas had to be renewed. During the summer, we would come home to my grandparents in Louisiana. Other times, we would go into Europe or Asia. We spent many winters on the beaches of Penang, an island off the coast of Malaysia.
Every time we returned home, Anna had a hot meal on the stove for us. Usually, it would be chicken curry, beef curry, and vegetable and beef samosas. Occasionally there’d be warm naan bread. Our home always smelled of my mom’s gumbos or Anna’s curries or my dad’s homemade barbecue sauces. Often, I get a whiff of something in the air and it brings back memories from that time in my life.
Last night there was no whiff in the air, but the scenes of a movie, “The Hundred-Foot Journey.” I recommend it.
The story is of an Indian family forced to flee India after political violence claims the life of the matriarch of their family and their family’s restaurant. They live in the landing path of flights at Heathrow until they’ve had enough. The son, Hassan, declares the vegetables have no soul. So they leave to wander Europe while the family father listens to the voice of his dead wife.
Their van breaks down in a picturesque French village. The father decides to open an Indian restaurant. That brings them into clashes with the restauranteur across the street who has one and desperately wants a second Michelin star.
The movie is about cultural clashes and a love of food. Some of the shots could classify as food porn, and that would be the only hint of porn in the movie. In fact, I counted one curse word, no nudity, no sex, and really minimal violence in one scene. But the movie brought back memories of home — roaming the European countryside, coming home to warm curries and smells of Indian spices, fresh breads, etc.
Some of the scenes are clunkers. At one point, one of the lead characters leaves for Paris and the film moves into a series of vignettes. The director could have done a better job making that portion of the movie flow. There are a few times the movie seems like it could come to a logical end, but it keeps going.
Over all, however, it is great. The acting is wondering. Om Puri, the father, is a delight in his clashes with Helen Mirren. The relationship between Hassan, played by Manish Dayal, and Marguerite, played by Charlotte Le Bon, is sweet and humorous.
Christy and I really enjoyed it. It was refreshing to go see a movie that didn’t have an over-blaring soundtrack, wild special effects, and a ton of profanity. I recommend going to see it.