“The Hundred-Foot Journey” follows a path less taken

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The Hundred-Foot Journey
The Hundred-Foot Journey, released Aug. 8, stars (left to right) Charlotte Le Bon, Helen Mirren, and Manish Dayal.

The Hundred-Foot Journey is a romance film where Hassan–the main character–and his family move from India to France to give their family a new start and open back up their restaurant that was destroyed in a devastating fire. They then find competition in the well-established French restaurant across the street.

After seeing its previews, the “Romeo and Juliet” style plot–with the forbidden romance between two opposing chefs–left me skeptical that the movie would be anything but feel-good fluff.

As it turns out, I was only partly right. More than just a really adorable feel good movie, The Hundred-Foot Journey actually had a couple of twists I didn’t expect walking into the doors of the theatre (ten minutes late, to the sight of previews still playing, I must add). The stereotypical “villain”–the one who desperately wants to break up the couple’s love and keep them from achieving their dream–has a complete turnaround of character after she realizes that the restaurant Hassan and his family owns actually creates interesting flavor combinations and that they have genuine skill in cooking. She eventually becomes one of the main protagonists, and a huge help to her previous rivals.

Another thing I loved about this movie was that, though being a romance movie, it didn’t consist of the main couple just making out or questioning their love for each other because of trivial issues. The main focus of the story was actually Hassan’s dream of being a chef and his devotion to his family. He didn’t start out as a world famous chef, or just breeze up to the top with no hard work at all.

There was also some realistic tension between the main love interest. Both struggle to move up to the top in the same profession; and when Hassan gets hired at the same store, they become rivals in getting the title of sous chef.

For a considerable time during the movie, Hassan left to pursue his dreams at a larger name company that made unique flavors using a combination of chemicals. As a major turning point in the story, he questions his decision to leave his family and friends behind, and wants to return to them and his original simple cooking style.

Watching the movie with my boyfriend, who hopes to be a chef himself, I appreciated the real ethnic dishes and cooking styles. Since I didn’t know much about cooking prior to seeing the movie, they added some interest to the film.

Though The Hundred-Foot Journey did have some typical romance movie scenes–the scene where they first see each other, their playful rivalry, and the realization and reunion part near the end–I really enjoyed it and thought it went much more into depth into the characters’ minds than your average romance movie.

 Megan Yanders
Reporter