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Italian for Beginners (2012)

Anders W. Berthelsen , Jesper Christensen , Lone Scherfig  |  R |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

Price: $6.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Anders W. Berthelsen, Jesper Christensen, Anette Stovelbaek
  • Directors: Lone Scherfig
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Danish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 22, 2012
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,193 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

An unforgettable romantic comedy that's earned overwhelming acclaim, Italian for Beginners is a warm and playful story about seven strangers and the shared journey of discovery that changes each of their lives.
In a small, rainy suburb, a mismatched collection of opposites have signed up for an Italian class in hopes of spicing up their lives. Then, as they realize the class offers them more than just language lessons, they join together on a trip to Italy with renewed desire. Once there, these world-weary students, who thought there was nothing left to learn from life, will get an education that will change everything they know about love.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching and funny January 6, 2003
It's initially somewhat disconcerting to watch this movie, shot as a video rather than in traditional film format. But the script and the performances are so affecting and so honest that it quickly becomes entirely engrossing. A motley-seeming collection of average people: a raging restaurant keeper with a hidden talent for language, an accommodating hairdresser with a nightmare of a mother who just happens to be terminally ill, a klutzy, good-natured young bakery worker with a horrible father, a disaffected management type and a charming Italian waitress. They all find themselves at an evening class in Italian and they manage to make connections--with themselves and with the others in the class--in humorous and bittersweet ways.
This is a very worthwhile film. Don't be put off by the oddness of the video. You'll forget about it soon enough and become entirely caught up in this wonderfully well-acted, truly touching and amusing film.
Highly recommended.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Example of a Dogma Film October 26, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Beware the myopic reviews by certain others here: they do not get the Dogma film movement and, more importantly, they do not get this film. With its emphasis on the acting--and not special effects, smarmy scores, or other cinematic sleight of hand--the Dogma film compels us to focus on _character._ «Italian for Beginners» does just that, focusing our attention on some lonely Danish singles who find not only refuge but togetherness in their attraction to all things Italian. The great accomplishment of the film's director, Lone Scherfig, is her ability to transfer very specifically Danish cultural aspects to a broader audience. Along the way you get both hilarious and touchingly sad moments and fine acting, all around. Merely to watch the talented Anders Berthelsen's facial expressions or Peter Gantzler's timing is worth the entire price of admission. An excellent film from Denmark.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The reviewers below miss the point of Dogme 95 February 6, 2003
This isn't so much a review as a response to the negative reviews below which successfully demonstrate that the authors have no idea: 1) That this movie was bound by the rules of Dogme 95, the Danish "anti-slickness" movement with which it is associated; 2) What the rules of Dogme 95 are; and 3) That without this knowledge they have no grounds to criticize the movie. First of all, all Dogme 95 films are to use cards for their credits. All Dogme 95 films are shot with only hand-held cameras. All Dogme 95 films are shot on the lowest budgets available.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this movie (which does indeed happen to be shot on video). The performances and script are natural and understated. The plot may not be big on cinematic brushstrokes and life-changing events (another feature of Dogme 95: no "artificial" events are to be introduced, as the characters are expected to follow the patterns of their daily lives), but it is big on believability. And the direction is also suitably subtle.
If you enjoy a movie that is fundamentally human and, in its small way, life-affirming, try this out. Just know in advance that it is not filmed like an overblown Spielberg film.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly wonderful!!! June 18, 2004
Italian For Beginners is a fantastic film, I don't see why people seem to have a problem with it. It's a movie for people who like movies and aren't bothered by things as ridiculous as the fact that it is shot with a video camera instead of on film. The script is engrossing, the characters are charming, and the locations beautiful. Don't listen to the negative comments and give this delightful little film a chance. It certainly deserves it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Misleading marketing, excellent movie July 26, 2004
As usual, ingore the wildly off-base U.S. Marketing campaign. The coverbox here - sexy female legs in an exotically supine position - is both misleading and insulting. This movie spends 92%+ of its time in a provincial Danish town. The subjects are death, loneliness, and breaking out of that loneliness via tentatively made connections. It's a brilliantly done movie by Dogme 95 adherent Lone Scherfig. Consider it 'von Trier light,' but that cover box is bound to set up some for disappointment.

The Dogme style gives you a freshness you don't see in many Hollywood movies. In fact, 'Italian for Beginners' could almost pass for a home video (albeit one recorded by your Danish relatives).

For you Dogme fans:

- Pastor 'Andreas' is Anders Berthelsen, who played lead Kresten so memorably in 'Mifune.'

- Stadium restaurant manager Halfinn is 'Mifune' star Iben Hjejle's live-in partner.

- Ann Eleonora Jorgensen as Karen is - other than this movie - unknown to American audiences. A shame. Somebody hire this lady.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding comedy/drama from Denmark October 20, 2002
From Denmark comes "Italian for Beginners", one of the sweetest, wisest and most enjoyable romantic comedy-dramas I have seen in a long time. Intellectually, it is closer to a dessert than a main course, but all desserts are not equal. You'll fondly remember this one. Like most romantic movies, its plot is rather farfetched. Its characters, though, are down to earth and believable - ordinary people trying to make their way through life's ups and downs with a little dignity.
In a small Danish city, six people find their lives in disarray for various reasons - two are caring for aged, ungrateful parents, one has recently lost his wife, another is about to lose his job, etc. They are not so much hopeless as they are desperate for hope. Their lives intersect in unexpected ways in an unlikely setting - a course in Italian at a local school.
Compared to its American counterparts, "Italian for Beginners" a small, sparse movie. Some viewers may not relate to the characters because none of them are larger than life. For me, their very ordinariness provides much of the movie's charm, because it makes their falling in love all the more special.
The film is in Danish and Italian with English subtitles.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars creating community
A wonderful film that is gentle, funny and lovely. As a Dogme 95 film is isn't all fussed up with Hollywood excess. The simplicity and honesty gives it depth and charm. Read more
Published 5 months ago by S. Mason
5.0 out of 5 stars What a treat!
(Danish with subtitles) This prizewinning film is my first Danish film, and what a treat. A group of people attend a class to learn to speak Italian: a minister, a hotel manager,... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Joyce
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, tender look at human relationships
I was at first irritated by the tightly framed and jumpy camera, but gradually the film takes hold of you at an emotional level, and you begin to think that the tight framing was... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Miss Yoka
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cliche-Ridden Joy
Here is a charming R-rated Danish film from the year 2000; "Italiensk for begyndere" (English captions). Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jay B. Lane
2.0 out of 5 stars It really could have been engaging.
Yes, it was filmed with a very low budget (under $500) video camera. I didn't mind much expect the person filming couldn't even keep the people upright when they were standing! Read more
Published 15 months ago by June Bug
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare gem.
One of those you don't want to miss. The lighthearted and fun plot brings together a group Danish men and women who come together to learn Italian but also find the opportunity... Read more
Published 16 months ago by A.. Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange to see Nordic people learning Italian!
It is an interesting movie; one can see the characters using the Italian class as a ladder of dreams towards love and the sun.
Published 16 months ago by visconti
2.0 out of 5 stars Never Bad But Always Mediocre
There are a thousand amateur writers who could come up with a better screenplay than this. Just make 80% of the characters experience a death and throw in a budding romance and a... Read more
Published 17 months ago by mr. contrarian
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
not a comedy...not a drama, not worth it at all, do not buy. get another movie if you want to enjoy. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Claudia
1.0 out of 5 stars italian for beginners
STILL have not received this item and it was supposed to be here in the first part of august.very diappointed
Published on September 6, 2011 by timothy s eastland
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