Mostly Martha (2001)

Germany, Sandra Nettelbeck

: Mostly MarthaMostly Martha is a sweet film about a chef in an upscale restaurant whose life is turned upside down when her sister dies, leaving behind an eight-year-old daughter. If Hollywood ever gets its hands on this story, it’ll turn into pop songs, hilarity (feel happy NOW–the pop song tells you to) and tearful moments (cry NOW–the soundtrack tells you to.) I was surprised at how somber much of this film is. This little girl is coping with the loss of her mom, and her aunt is coping with having a kid to care for, while contending with an eccentric Italian interloper in her kitchen, hired by her boss to assist in the restaurant. Of course Martha is threatened and exasperated by the Italian’s way of doing things, of course the two don’t get along, and of course they fall in love in the end, but it takes its time getting there and feels very genuine (and non-Hollywood) as a result.

Here’s the Gist: Don’t watch this on an empty stomach (hungry) or when you’re PMS’ing (hungry and weepy.) [***1/2]

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