Hundred-Foot Journey, The

Featured In Issue 192, December 2014

WSR Score5
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Lasse Hallström
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In The Hundred-Foot Journey, Hassan Kadam (Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France. Filled with charm, it is both picturesque and elegant––the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Mirren), gets wind of it. Her icy protests against the new Indian restaurant a hundred feet from her own escalate to all-out war between the two establishments—until Hassan's passion for French haute cuisine and for Madame Mallory's enchanting sous chef, Marguerite (Le Bon), combined with his mysteriously delicious talent to weave magic between their two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even Mme. Mallory cannot ignore. At first Madame Mallory's culinary rival, she eventually recognizes Hassan's gift as a chef and takes him under her wing. Based on the novel by Richard C. Moralis.

Special features include a conversation with Producers Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey (HD 12:14); three featurettes: The Recipe, The Ingredients, The Journey (HD 16:06), On Set With Oprah Winfrey (HD 03:53), and Coconut Chicken (HD 05:09); and a digital copy.

The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture is warmly cinematic, with a strong saturated color palette that captures the essence of the colorful Indian spices depicted and the lush country-fresh vegetables on display at the French open-air market. Hues are bold, rich, and vivid, yet the appearance is natural, though, striking. Fleshtones are naturally rendered with cultural and ethic contrasts. Contrast is nicely balanced with deep blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Resolution is nicely revealing of fine detail in textures, clothing, hair, and facial features. This is such a beautiful visual experience. If you appreciate the fine art of cooking, you will really enjoy this enchanting tale of cultural interplay.

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is effectively holosonic® with a sweeping orchestral music score that extends to the surrounds, for an enveloping soundfield. Dialogue is anchored at the center front and, while a bit forward, is consistently intelligible. Atmospherics and sound effects are complementary, with good spatial dimension, to enhance the sense of scale. Deep bass accompanies the music appropriately and briefly during a fireworks display on Bastille Day. The music effectively sets the mood and ties the scenes together. This is a pleasant soundtrack that perfectly complements the storytelling.