Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom
Screenplay: Steven Knight, based on a novel by Steven Morais
Released: August 8th, 2014
When I first saw this preview, in theaters, the first thought in my head was “Cute.” And cute it was. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up.
Plot: Basic plot is this India family went through a tragic event, the death of their matriarch, due to some riots that went on. Their father decides to move his family to Europe in hopes that one of his sons, the 2nd oldest I believe, can continue to learn how to cook. He was learning under the tutelage of his mother. One afternoon, their van breaks down along an old country road leading into a quaint little village. A nice woman from the village sees them and invites them over to her place when it turns out she works for a notable restaurant who’s earned a coveted star rating. It turns out there’s an abandoned restaurant right across the street and this Indian family ends up moving in and starting a restaurant of their own. The story takes off from there.
As I mentioned, cute. Our hero of the story, after some challenges and awkward moments, learns, trains, and because a huge cooking star in France. He looses his way a bit and finds himself returning home, where his inspiration and love for cooking began, with family. There’s no other word I can think of aside from “cute.” Sorry. And despite my ever eloquent ways of describe the movie, it really is a good story. It’s pretty basic and predictable, but I enjoyed it. Nothing too exciting or out-of-the-norm, just plain … enjoyable.
Aside from Helen Mirren (who I love watching), I didn’t really know anyone else. Manish Dayal does a wonderful job portraying our hero, Hassan. As mentioned, I haven’t really seen his work prior to this movie, but he’s done some TV and he did a good job in this role. I’m interested to see how his career will pan out from here. Charlotte Le Bon played our “love interest” and I enjoyed her. Her character did annoy a bit during some parts, especially when she was getting upset at Hassan from tracking into her territory. I mean, I get it, but really, I thought it would have been easier for her to just be happy for him. Anyway, (sorry to get carried away) … And Helen Mirren, of course, does an excellent job with her role. And I love her character. And I won’t feel right mentioning Helen and not mentioning her opposite in this film, Om Puri. They made a great on-screen duo, just as Dayal and Le Bon did. The whole cast was wonderful to watch and I think added to this story.
I haven’t read the book so I can’t comment on whether or not the screenplay adaptation was on point, but I enjoyed the screenplay as its own. The story flowed. There wasn’t any questions or head-scratching moments. You’d think a story as predictable as this one can be would be slow moving, but I didn’t feel that way either. I think the general audience would like this one.
Whether or not to add it to my library is a different story. I don’t think I would. I did enjoy it and I know I’ll probably watch it down the road of life, but I don’t think I want to watch it enough times to justify adding it to my personal collection.
With that said, I believe it’s one of those movies worth watching at least once.
(photo credits: wikipedia for in-post picture and joblo.com for featured)