Monday, August 11, 2014

Take "The Hundred-Foot Journey"

I think it is telling that movies like "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" are garnering Rotten Tomatoes critics ratings in the 90 percentile while the thoughtful "Lucy" and the heartwarming "The Hundred-Foot Journey" are pulling in mid-60s approvals.

"The Hundred-Foot Journey," directed by Lasse Hallstrom ("Chocolat," another lovely food movie), is quite possibly my favorite movie of the past five years, maybe 10. Eighty-five percent of those in the audiences like it, says Rotten Tomatoes.

I really can't at this moment think of one I've enjoyed more. It has the elements I most like: Helen Mirren, great food, extraordinary photography (by Linus Sandgren) in a splendid setting ( Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, in the South of France), a sweet love story, a crackling social issue, characters I admire and great subtle humor.

The showing I attended yesterday with my friend Amy Peck was nearly full (long line at the ticket6 box; Amy was smart enough to get there early and lock on to two tix) and my guess is that will be the case for a while.

This is the story of an Indian immigrant family steeped in the restaurant business trying to make a new life in a charming French village after political upheaval in their native land. They buy a broken down former restaurant across the street (100 feet) from what will become their rival, a haughty traditional French restaurant owned by grumpy, competitive Helen Mirren's character (she wears the French accent well, as she does everything).

The competition turns into a turf war and the feathers fly. It gets ugly for a while, but the food continues to be extraordinary and I simply wanted to leave the theater at the end and go downtown to Nawab and stuff in some Indian food. But, alas, it was my grandboy's birthday party, so that'll have to wait.

Anyhow, the movie is filling and fulfilling. I like it a lot, I'll say again.

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