It’s been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Apparently, a journey of 100 feet is a little more difficult.
Suzanne and I saw The Hundred-Foot Journey, a new movie from Oprah Winfrey and Disney. It concerns the Kadam family, who are in the restaurant business in Mumbai, India. After an election, their restaurant is burned and the mother is killed. They relocate, first to London, then to a village in France,, where they open a restaurant called Maison Mumbai. On their arrival in France, they are fed and put up for a night by a young woman named Marguerite.
Across the street is a very well-established restaurant called Le Seule Pleurer, run by Madame Mallory. The place is so well established that one of the government ministers eats there. She does not want competition, especially from foreigners. She begins to take measures to make business difficult for Maison Mumbai, and Papa Kadam retaliates. The mayor warns Madame Mallory that there are elements in town who are virulently against foreigners and she might not want to be associated with them.
The two restaurants compete for business and they barely speak with each other. Meanwhile, Hassan Kadam, who is the main chef at Maison Mumbai, begins to develop a relationship with Marguerite, who turns out to be a sous-chef at Le Seule Pleurer. Eventually, events cause Madame Mallory to offer Hassan a chance to be a chef at her restaurant. (Her restaurant is rated one star and she wants to upgrade to two stars.) Meanwhile, the relationship between Madame Mallory and Papa Kadam grows friendly.
Eventually, Hassan’s reputation is so great that he is hired by a restaurant in Paris. However, he finds himself pining for the village, his family, and Marguerite, so he returns home. This is a reminder of the vital importance of home and family.
This is a lovely movie with a couple of lessons. One is seeing the larger picture. For all the differences between Madame Mallory and her friends and the Kadams (and they remain), they manage to see their oneness as fellow human beings and to learn to support each other rather than warring with each other. And they learn forgiveness. They move beyond their mutual attempts to destroy each other, beyond their competition, to establish a bond that erases any hostility that may have existed.
This is a well-done movie worth seeing. You’ll leave feeling very good.
-Tim Phares, RScP