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Hundred-Foot Journey, The


Stars: Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Om Puri, Charlotte Le Bon, Clément Sibony, Amit Shah, Michel Blanc, Vincent Elbaz

Director: Lasse Hallström

Here comes this year's successor to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Food always seems to work well as a subject, and here it's garnished with lots of emotive moments and much golden-hued French countryside.

Fleeing from India after their restaurant is burned down by rioters, in a fire in which their mother (Bollywood superstar Juhi Chawla in a beautifully-controlled cameo) is killed, the Kadam family - Papa (Puri), grown-up son Hassan (Dayal), two teenagers and two younger siblings - ends up, via London and Holland, in rural France, where Papa buys an old ruined building on the fringes of a market town, turns it into a restaurant and calls it Maison Mumbai.

Only problem; it is dead opposite a plush French restaurant which, run by the iron hand of Madame Mallory (Mirren at her most queenly, if barely attempting a French accent) actually has a Michelin star, and draws patrons from miles around.

Hassan, however, is an inspired chef bordering on instinctive genius, and a fierce rivalry springs up between the two eating establishments, with dirty deeds high on the menu.

But when chef Jean-Pierre (Sibony) attempts to burn the Mumbai down, causing serious damage to Hassan's hands, it leads to a rapprochement that opens up new horizons for the Indian superchef.

That's about as dramatic as the film gets, otherwise gently holding us the palm of its hand. Cinemagoers looking for tougher meat may stay away, but if you like Marigold Hotel (and a sequel to that is on the cards) you'll wolf this lightly-spiced fare down in one sitting. It's comfort cinema all right, though little the worse for that.

David Quinlan

USA/France/India 2014. UK Distributor: Entertainment One (DreamWorks). Technicolor.
122 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 03 Sep 2014