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The Mistress of Spices
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The Mistress of Spices More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Embarrassing movie

Author: Imdbidia from Australia
25 February 2011

A tale in which spices have magical powers and the mistress of spices, a beautiful Hindu girl owner of a spice bazaar in San Francisco, is a sort of good witch. Her devotion to the spices guarantees her that they would reveal their secrets when somebody goes asking for help. However, the Mistress cannot leave the shop for any reason, can't be touched by anybody especially by a man, and has always to work for the welfare of the others not for her own. Otherwise, she would lose all her powers.

The story is really non-believable, lacks in magic despite telling a story of Magic, and it is not engaging at all. In fact, the plot is ridiculous, not even believable for kids. If the script had focused just on the properties of spices (no in their magical virtues) and the social part of the shop and its owner, the plot would have improved immensely. Moreover, the movie is corny and has no charm.

Some of the actors are good and believable in their roles, especially the always lovely Aishwarya Rai as the Mistress Lilo, Nirin Ganatra as her friend taxi-driver Haroun, and Anupam Kher as the traditional grandfather of a modern Indo-American girl. All of them also present in the very charming Bride and Prejudice.

Real Bollywood movies are more daring and have much more class and charm that this one. I was extremely disappointed and, most importantly, bored and even embarrassed!

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

ZEEEROOO chemistry

Author: grace_rep from France
30 April 2007

there certainly was zeeeero chemistry between the two leads but i don't think it was due to the lack of "smootching", ash and shahrukh had chemistry in devdas and everyone knows they didn't kiss, so i rather blame the actors in MOS who obviously were very uncomfortable with each other.

ASH disappointed me in this flick, going through her filmography feels like being on a roller-coaster, sometimes she'll give an amazing performance (like in devdas or khakee) and at other times (like in MOS) she'll just hammer her lines and look as blank as a board that's just been erased.

I won't even get started on that Mcdermott guy, Geez! display some emotion man!! that scene when they're in bed together felt like watching the weather channel, no scratch that, it felt like watching my grandma cutting her toenails while watching the weather channel. what was the director thinking?? Gosh, i remember complaining about the lack of fire in Bride and Prejudice, well, this movie makes B&P look like the new Gone with the Wind.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Young girl from India is taken into a spice "coven" where she learns the mysteries and magic of spices.

Author: tmfitz from Canada
9 September 2006

Sorry to say I found this movie pretty grim.I did find Ashwarya Rai to be quite luminous and lovely.Her performance seemed pretty nuanced but somewhat one dimensional.The story is confusing and hard to describe.It is like a lenghty advertisement for both Ashwarya and spices/aromatics/mystical healing properties of various substances.Mind you the rattling chilies wore thin on me! I went with 2 of my sons who are major film going people and when asked to describe the plot line,simply could't.It is long- and feels long.Dylan McDermott is easy on the eyes- he uses all the usual tricks to allure- unshaven,motorcycle,architect....but there is essentially no chemistry between him and Ashwarya Rai. I was very disappointed in this film.I unfortunately could't recommend going to it.A rental on a dark gloomy November night might be OK- warm colors,good cinematography etc.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

I Loved it

Author: jbarnes-10 from United States
25 May 2007

I enjoyed this film almost as much as "Bride and Prejudice" The cinematography was fantastic and the story was very original and heartwarming. A great date movie and one you can watch with kids around. With all the schlock that is being put out now, this was a breath of fresh air.

The acting is excellent and the mix of humor and drama was even and well paced. No its not the best movie ever made but it's one of the best I've rented lately, enough so that I would watch it again.

The supporting cast, many of whom were in "Bride and Prejudice", were excellent and you care about them and their problems. A very nice escape from the sad world we live in today.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An Indian criticizing Mexicans in this movie? Unreal!!

Author: jnal from United States
20 January 2011

I just have to write about a scene I just saw in this movie where the old Indian guy is talking trash about Mexicans when the pretty girl mentions shes dating a Chicano. OMG! are you kidding me? an Indian talking BS about Mexicans saying that there "slum criminals who are illegal"? This country amazes me more and more and I've heard it all when an Indian talks trash about Mexicans.. haha. That Indian guy or as a matter a fact, the pig scriptwriter who decided to put that disgusting comment into the script, I think need a serious reality check! I think first that person needs to realize that if you're an Indian from the middle east in this country, you should know better to say something like that and get away with it.. when I promise you have equally been discriminated or will face worse discrimination. You need a mirror to see that you're just as brown as Mexicans and what gives you the audacity and nerve to belittle and speak that garbage! I think you need to go back in time a little .. say to 9/11 and see how you will get a serious beat down from racist white Americans or skin heads who will call you a terrorist piece of Sh^%$t and beat you to a bloody pulp for stereo typing you as the people responsible for 911. So the next time some Indian tries to make a comment like that towards Mexicans, I think you need a serious reality pill! Disgusting comment in the movie and I don't give a rats fat ass to see the rest of it. Good job director!

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Would have preferred it if it was in Indian

Author: witcheemon from Brisbane, Australia
25 February 2009

Hear me out on this one.

It might just be me, but I am more forgiving to voice overs if they are not in English. I spend most of my effort watching the screen and reading the subtitles in this case, so the only noise I ever notice is the music, and the melody of voices. As another reviewer here pointed out, we're in voice overs up to our eyeballs because of this film. It bothered me so much I couldn't watch more than twenty minutes of it.

I wanted to love this film so badly. The premise was brilliant, the story wonderful, but it was all undone within ten minutes by poor execution and lousy dialogue. I cried when I hit the stop button, but I just couldn't take anymore.

It's funny. If it has chocolate it's wonderful, but if it has spices (a la Woman on Top), it lacks fire. Maybe one day someone will get it right.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Author: jez from Canada
11 July 2007

Let's begin with...the good things, shall we? The cinematography, art direction... it's OK. Visually, I think this movie has succeeded in creating a modern showing and respect for traditions. Beautifully done there, I promise you that your eyes will have a feast on all the spices.

That's about all I can say. The characters are confusing, questionable, unrealistic... The whole storyline and concept is magical, mystical and mysterious though it succeeded in being unconvincing. I mean, my favorite movies are Memoirs of a Geisha and Big Fish; all these stories have beautiful story lines, images, fantasies etc. "Mistress of Spices" failed right from the beginning. Overflooded with voice overs, over explained and overdescripted with unnecessary dialogue. I thought it killed the beautiful images seen on screen. Wise words and inspiring lines were thrown casually at inappropriate times. Everything was predictable, foolish and very flat. I feel so terrible for every potentially-good movie I see that turns out to be a flop.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Mediocre film with good cinematography

Author: rentalife from United States
25 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Magical realism requires a deft directorial hand and a great screenplay that can present you with the absurd but still make you believe it. The Mistress of Spices had neither.

First of all, the lead performances were OK. In Aishwarya's case I expected much worse, based on what I'd seen from her past roles. Here she played a woman reluctant to embrace love and it turned out believable. Dylan, already known to be a competent actor, delivered the occasional smoldering look necessary to convey "I'm falling in love."

It was the poor treatment of the supporting characters that made this movie almost atrocious. The good-natured cab-driver's first scene seemed completely unbelievable because of the bad acting. The young Sikh teenager's transformation from dutiful son to gold-chained gangbanger was unintentionally hilarious, calling on caricatures rather than character development. And whoever fixed his turban needs to be fired. The grandfather's needling concern for his granddaughter's love life reeked of "Bend it Like Beckham" with the over-the-top parental figures nagging their children into the arms of non-Indians. The problem is, that while all these undeveloped 2-D characters would have been great in BILB, they ruined the atmosphere that the audience needed to believe in Tilo's magic. If you aren't grounded in the reality of the movie's world, then the "magic" part isn't special.

The use of voice-over for Tilo's thoughts may have been necessary so that the audience could know about the different spices, but it just did not feel right. It indicated that the screenwriter never completely transcribed the story for the big screen. Inner voice works for books. Not as much for movies. The rules that Tilo lived by also came across as hokey and impractical for a store-owner in California. The fact that none of her customers, even traditional Indians, knew of her true nature kept the stakes low. At the very least, if there were people helping her stay inside the store and truly appreciative of her mystical skills (or truly dependent on them) then her conflict would have made some kind of sense.

Now to SPOILERS: The blazing speed of the relationship fixes is mind-boggling. Tilo meets Haroun's neighbor, a woman who has barely spoken to Haroun. Pretty much the next day, Tilo is handing Haroun a wedding gift. Give it a little time please? The Sikh gangbanger suddenly agrees to take martial arts lessons rather than fire off that gun with that DANGEROUS GANG he just joined yesterday. Roundhouse kicks don't stop bullets! Doug's girlfriend suddenly shows up in Tilo's Indian spice store so she can find out how to cook for him. Then when she finds out that Doug loves someone else, she's just happy for him?

They put way too much makeup on Aishwarya, who was meant to be playing the role of an unassuming natural beauty who supposedly couldn't leave her store or have romance. Tone it down a little bit so that when you finally have that big makeover scene, there's a real reason to be impressed!

Strangest of all was Doug's back story about his estranged mother. It was so completely irrelevant. With such mystical tension and drama leading up to his deep dark secret, I am still left wondering :So your great grandpa gave you a magic feather...and???

But the colors were pretty.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Worst Film Ever but better the Bride and Prejudice

Author: Bengali_Princess from United Kingdom
22 September 2006

This has to be one of the worst films ever, although I have to admit it is better than Bride and Prejudice, nothing can be worse than that.

The only thing good about this film is Aishwarya Rai's performance, she can act, shame about the accent.

This film just doesn't make sense, there's so many questions that run through your mind whilst watching i.e How did she come to the us in the first place?, how does she get all essential needed if she never leaves the shop? etc etc.

Haven't read the book so maybe the book is better and makes more sense, books are usually better than the films.

When Ash wears the red sari, I swear the blouse doesn't fit her, just take a look at her right breast, its like an ill fitting bra!!

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The only thing worse than the preceding minute is the one that follows it.

Author: kingdio from California, United States
25 June 2007

This is such a boring movie. Rai is basically imprisoned in the spice shop talking to spices in her head. All the exposition is either confusing flashbacks, or endless narrative from Rai. Must be extremely cheap to make a movie when all you have is one actor on one set endlessly narrating the story in her head. The most annoying part is probably some drummy Indian beat that plays endlessly every time McDermontt's character is around in combination with a close up chili peppers. It's the spices talking to Rai's character warning her he's trouble. Apparently the spices are some form of deities that control the fate of Rai's character. If she breaks the rules things happen. Horrible, horrible movie that only gets worse if you make it to the ending.

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