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Mostly Martha

4.5 out of 5 stars 354 customer reviews


Geek Boutique 2016 Geek Boutique HQP

$46.49 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details In stock on August 3, 2016. Order it now. Sold by galaxyentertainment and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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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

Special Features

None.

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: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (354 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007ELFA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,076 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mostly Martha" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 4, 2005
Format: DVD
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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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.
2 Comments 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
"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.
Read more ›
3 Comments 70 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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This is much, much more than another great food movie--although it's definitely got some wonderful food happening. What's impressive here is the directorial restraint--the audience is allowed to decide for themselves what Martha's background might have been to see her into adulthood so detached from people that her entire life has become her career. The kitchen is where Martha lives; it is her dominion. The food she produces (unlike her life) is flawless. Beyond the confines of the restaurant, things are random, uncontrollable; nothing coalesces the way her perfect recipes do.
With the arrival of her orphaned niece into her life and a second (Italian) chef at the restaurant, life, in spite of Martha's best efforts, begins to leak in around the edges of her fiercely maintained control--of herself and of her kitchen. There are moments of great yet gentle humor and moments of confused pain as emotions begin to grow in Martha--visibly an alien experience.
This is a wise film, filled with insight and humor; the soundtrack is wonderful and the resolution is immensely satisfying.
Not to be missed. Most highly recommended.
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