Flavors blend together in ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’

AP Photo/DreamWorks, Francois Duhamel Gifted chef Hassan (Manish Dayal, center) finds himself caught in the middle of a battle between his Papa (Om Puri) and Madam Mallory (Helen Mirren), the owner of a classic French restaurant, in “The Hundred-Foot Journey.”

AP Photo/DreamWorks, Francois Duhamel
Gifted chef Hassan (Manish Dayal, center) finds himself caught in the middle of a battle between his Papa (Om Puri) and Madam Mallory (Helen Mirren), the owner of a classic French restaurant, in “The Hundred-Foot Journey.”

By M. Scott Morris

Daily Journal

Food isn’t only about bodily needs. For some, it’s a combination of flavors to be savored, and eating is an event to be experienced.

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” is a love letter to and about people who form emotional connections with the food they prepare and/or eat.

Hassan (Manish Dayal) and his family are fleeing hard times and bad memories from their native India, and end up in a picturesque French town because that’s where their van breaks down.

Hassan has a gift for blending spices and flavors, and the town proves to be the perfect place to explore his passion.

There’s a potential love interest who’s happy to share cookbooks and advice. Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) and Hassan have an easy camaraderie that hints at deeper things to come, as long as neither one blows it.

The hundred-foot journey in the movie’s title refers to the distance between the Indian restaurant that Hassan’s family opens and the classic French restaurant across the street owned by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren).

The battles between Madame Mallory and Hassan’s Papa (Om Puri) are often amusing until they threaten to get out of control. Throughout the drama, Hassan keeps developing his skills by adding Indian touches to classical French cuisine for tasty effect.

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” is a sumptuous movie that’s cooked slowly over low heat, though there are a few moments when action spices things up.

I left the movie knowing a little bit more about the high-pressure world of modern cuisine. I also devoted some time to daydreaming about packing up my word processor and moving to a French village.

I wouldn’t say “The Hundred-Foot Journey” filled me up the way a great movie can, but I was pleasantly entertained, if not hungry for more.

I give “The Hundred-Foot Journey” a B plus.

It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.