Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Martina Gedeck, Sergio Castellitto, Maxime Foerste, August Zirner, Ulrich Thomsen
Director: Sandra Nettelbeck
Martha (Martina Gedeck) is a dedicated professional chef who lives for her kitchen and her cooking. She doesn’t have much of a personal life and regularly attends psychological therapy sessions. Her security in life lies within her power in the kitchen. All this power is threatened when her boss hires an Italian chef Mario (Sergio Castellitto) to assist in the restaurant. Shortly after this dilemma Martha’s sister dies in a car crash and so Martha has to look after her 8 year-old niece Lina (Maxime Foerste).
Martha struggles to keep a grip on reality as her normal life begins to change to accommodate the new influences in her life – Lina and Mario. Lina however proves to be too much of a challenge for Martha and so she searches for Lina’s father to come and take care of his daughter, which leads to a surprising conclusion. Mario eventually wins Martha over and their friendship blossoms into an interesting romance. Eventually though Martha is forced to choose between either embracing the possibilities of a new life, or sticking to the safety of an old reliable one.
Martina Gedeck is perfect as the middle-aged chef, she portrays the right levels of sadness and stubbornness for her character. Sergio Castellitto is great as the full of life Italian sous-chef giving his character a shot of joy and passion. Maxime Foerste skilfully depicts the young girl who is merely seeking unconditional love and acceptance very similar to the central character’s own yearnings.
Direction from Sandra Nettelbeck is great as she steers this dramatic piece on perfectly not taking it anywhere else than is essential to the story. Good story, good script, good drama and good music. Perhaps though a little more character development would have helped.
In conclusion, a good movie with great performances and a good message for all generations.