“The Hundred-Foot Journey,” which opened Friday to respectful reviews, looks like a sure-fire contender at the Golden Globes. Expect it to reap nominations for both Best Comedy/Musical and leading lady Helen Mirren, who has won three of her previous 12 Globe bids. And, if it takes off at the box office, newcomer Manish Dayal may contend for his starring role as could veteran actor Om Puri for his scene-stealing featured turn. Lasse Hallstrom also helmed the similarly-themed “Chocolat,” which reaped four Globe nominations.
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” follows the life of Hassan (Dayal in a starmaking role) whose Papa (Puri) sets up an Indian restaurant across from Madame Mallory’s (the always superb Mirren) Michelin-rated establishmen. After an initial clash, Mallory realizes the brilliance of Hassan’s talents and molds him into a popular, award-winning French chef. He is whisked away to Paris and quickly becomes renowned for his new exotic take on French cuisine.
The film is visually appetizing with charm and laughter throughout. The food-porn throughout the film is drool-inducing and the chemistry between Dayal, Puri, and Mirren is just as appealing. However, reviews have been middling, meriting a fresh-rating of 67% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Even so, the picture should be well-positioned with the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. members with its Swedish director, French setting and international cast as well as powerhouse producers Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg. It certainly helps that it contends in the Comedy/Musical categories, which tend to be less crowded. Indeed, such previous foreign-themed fare as “Julie & Julia” in 2009 and both “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” in 2012 earned Best Comedy/Musical Picture nominations.
This feast of a flick will likely be up against Wes Anderson‘s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” as well as the James Brown biopic “Get On Up!” Among upcoming films that could contend are the dark comedy “Birdman” and the stage-to-screen adaptation of the Tony-winning tuner “Into the Woods”.