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Mostly Martha (2002)

Martina Gedeck , Sergio Castellitto , Sandra Nettelbeck  |  PG |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Martina Gedeck, Sergio Castellitto, Maxime Foerste, August Zirner, Ulrich Thomsen
  • Directors: Sandra Nettelbeck
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: February 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007ELFA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,266 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mostly Martha" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

An uptight gourmet chef learns to loosen up when she becomes the caretaker of her orphaned niece, and meets an Italian chef.
Genre: Foreign Film - German
Rating: PG
Release Date: 12-DEC-2003
Media Type: DVD

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
119 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the zest for life and love February 4, 2005
Written and directed by Sandra Nettelbeck, "Bella Martha", strangely translated as "Mostly Martha", was her first big feature film, and won international awards and delighted many...perhaps mostly women, as it is exquisitely romantic. Martina Gedeck as Martha, the master chef who tries to control her world while it collapses around her, is superb. She has an intense kind of beauty and grace, strong but emotionally fragile, and Gadeck's body language speaks volumes, and lets us see into her heart with a simple gesture of the hand, or a flicker in her eyes. This is one of the best performances I've seen in a very long time.

Her relationship with her 8 year old niece Lina, so well played by Maxime Foreste, is complex, understandable, and very moving, and the chemistry between Martha and Mario, (Sergio Castellitto is perfect in the part) is fabulous, complete opposites attracting. The supporting cast are all excellent, and director Nettelbeck plays Lina's mother in a touching video sequence.

The score by David Darling and Keith Jarrett is marvelous, with delicate sections of Arvo Part's music for one of the most tragic scenes, and includes a bit of Dean Martin's version of "Volare", and the irresistible, simply scrumptious "Via con Me" by Paolo Conte, a song so happy it would make a bear smile. The cinematography by Michael Bertel is also wonderful, with location shots of Hamburg and Italy, and overflowing vistas of delectable food.
I cried, I laughed out loud, and I will always remember this film; it is a small but polished gem.
Total running time is 109 minutes.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost done in by lame U.S. marketing spin November 25, 2002
I have a common complaint that great European films are often killed by brain-dead U.S. marketing campaigns - usally these are excellent light dramas absurdly cast as screwball comedies. The most egregious example is "East is East," in which an outstanding film bears absolutely zero correlation to the description of it on a stupefyingly dumb U.S.-issued VHS coverbox.
"Mostly Martha" suffers from some of that. This is an excellent movie - a feel good piece without pandering. Martina Gedeck's outstanding portrayal of "Martha" is well worth your money. This got buried quickly in the U.S. because I felt like it was marketed to highlight the 'screwball' relationship between Martha and Mario...of course, their relationship is anything but & comprises only one-third of the story or so.
I urge you to pick this up when it becomes available on DVD - you're in for a real treat.
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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Passion for Food leads to Love October 29, 2003
"Food is a great passion of mine, and I think it is one of the best visual and most sensual metaphors life has to offer." ~Sandra Nettelbeck, German Director

Martha (Marina Gedeck) is a sexy chef living her life in a very organized fashion. She is single, doesn't have any children and seems to have found the perfect job. As a chef, she takes great pride in her creations and is even willing to confront customers who question her cooking skills, especially if they involve a discussion of how Duck Foie Gras should be cooked. As a perfectionist, she refuses to accept that anything could be wrong with her world, her gourmet cooking or her opinions on food preparation.

What Martha is really lacking is an ability to open up her heart and allow love to flow to those around her. She has a passion for cooking, but not for life. While she seems to take pleasure in her cooking, she doesn't seem to have a sense of humor about her world. Restaurant manager, Frida (Sibylle Canonica), insists that she go to therapy and yet, she rarely deals with her inner world, she is more concerned about recipes. She leaves her therapist (August Zirner) rather confused as he can't figure out why she is in therapy. Even when her sister is in an accident, she deals with the pain by thinking about a Lobster's death.

When an accident leaves her eight-year-old niece, Lina (Maxine Foerste), in need of care, Martha's heart starts to open to the world. Together Lina and Martha take a journey to healing that is not without conflict. Martha not only accepts Lina into her home, she also vows to find Lina's father. I like the way the director doesn't spoon feed the audience, there are often items you don't fully understand until much later in the movie.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, wonderful story January 2, 2003
By A Customer
This is the story of a beautiful, obcessive gourmet chef who is a master in the kitchen, but struggles with human relationships, whether with a complaining restaurant customer. an exhuberant Italian chef who adores her, or her 8 year old niece. The photography alone is worth seeing this movie, from the food preparation shots to her psychiatrist's minimalist office. The warmth and main interest come from Gedick's performance, which is subtle and beautifully arresting. She is a consummate actress and I wish she would make American films! Obviously difficulties in being a new parent (her niece comes to live with her after Martha's sister dies)and being loved by a passionate but patient man (The Italian chef) arise. But it works out naturally and we see Martha grow from the difficulties and become
an even more beautiful and whole woman. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great show
Great show for your weekend time. About food, about human relationships and drama of it. be ready to read some CC as movie in German.
Published 1 day ago by AndreyA
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful movie
I liked the story and the actors. And the kitchen and the food they cooked. It inspired me to go to my kitchen and prepare something. Read more
Published 1 day ago by DLR
4.0 out of 5 stars It was entertaining and intriguing.
Martha's passion for cooking is what motivates her in her life. However her love for her niece becomes just as vivacious as her love for cooking. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Lara Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this film
Martha is such a perfectionistic, focused lady - she almost misses out on living. I thought this film was realistic and believable.
Published 6 days ago by Kimm Colarossi
5.0 out of 5 stars You Can't Beat the Original
Hollywood has a bad (and getting worse) habit of remaking foreign films. Sometimes they come out fine, but too often they pale by comparison to the original. Read more
Published 9 days ago by zen4poets
5.0 out of 5 stars "I wish I had a recipe for you, that I could follow."
It's hard to be friends with Martha Klein. Martha (Martina Gedeck) is socially awkward and guarded. She's hampered by her inability to express herself except thru her cooking. Read more
Published 9 days ago by H. Bala
5.0 out of 5 stars Decent movie
Martha is a chef and fairly temperamental about her position in a restaurant. When a foreign (Italian) cook is hired to help her she resents his popularity, not only with the... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Kitty
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Movie
This was a nice movie. It had sadness but it was realistic with a little humor and not dark. A good ending which is a nice change.. Good character development.
Published 9 days ago by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful film
beautiful, warm, and touching, with lovely subtleties. enjoyed it very much. very impressed with the understated performance of the main actress, and the gentle sweet nature of... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Shari A. Bradley
5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem for both food lovers and movie lovers
Absolutely love this movie. I have lost count of how many times I have watched it over the years and it is always a movie that I love from beginning to end, never getting bored,... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Carlos A. Padilla
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