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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You mean food isn't everything?
MOSTLY MARTHA isn't about Martha S. But, if the shoe fits ...
In this case, Martha is Martha Klein (Martina Gedeck), a supremely talented chef, who lords over the kitchen of the Lido, an upscale Hamburg restaurant. Martha is so obsessed with food preparation and presentation that she'll confront any customer that sends her creations back to the kitchen...
Published on 14 Jan. 2006 by Amazon Customer

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review of Mostly Martha
Great to watch. Also if you are learning German, this DVD is perfect as it has a lot of very good food vocab!Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003]
Published on 3 July 2011 by Sima


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You mean food isn't everything?, 14 Jan. 2006
By 
Amazon Customer (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
MOSTLY MARTHA isn't about Martha S. But, if the shoe fits ...
In this case, Martha is Martha Klein (Martina Gedeck), a supremely talented chef, who lords over the kitchen of the Lido, an upscale Hamburg restaurant. Martha is so obsessed with food preparation and presentation that she'll confront any customer that sends her creations back to the kitchen. Because Martha is "the second best" chef in the city, the Lido's owner, Frida (Sibylle Canonica), refrains from firing Klein, but has demanded that she see a therapist. On the shrink's couch, Martha talks only of recipes. Over his objections, she even prepares meals for him to eat at his desk.
Martha's regimented life is disrupted when her sister, a single mother, perishes in an auto accident. Martha is left to care for Lina (Maxine Foerste), her 8-year old niece, while attempting to contact Giuseppe, the girl's father living somewhere in Italy. In the meantime, Frida hires another chef, Mario (Sergio Castellitto), to augment her kitchen staff. Mario's free and easy personality is the antithesis of Martha the Control Freak. Martha finds her life spinning into chaos, especially when it becomes apparent that she's failing miserably as a surrogate Mom to Lina, who remains depressed over her mother's death and so passively hostile that she won't even eat the perfectly prepared and arranged dishes that Martha sets before her.
Had MOSTLY MARTHA been made in Tinseltown, it would've inevitably starred Meg Ryan as Martha, Tom Hanks as Mario, and some adorable child star as the incorrigible Lina. The characters of this German production are all eminently likeable and credible, and they concoct a just-right mix of comedy and drama that perhaps wouldn't have been achieved in an American version. While the ending is also eminently predictable, the filmscript, which assigns Martha a (cinematically) unusual profession and places much of the action inside the choreographed frenzy of the Lido's kitchen, is clever enough to elevate the movie, in my opinion, above three stars.
I heartily recommend this charmer if you like to cook, frequently eat in high-end restaurants, and/or enjoy films with a cosmopolitan, European ambience.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the zest for life and love, 5 Feb. 2005
Written and directed by Sandra Nettelbeck, "Bella Martha", stangely 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 Gadeck 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 oh joy ! 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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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Martha, 29 Nov. 2003
By 
Kevin M Jones (Tavistock, Devon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I saw this film in the cinema and I am buying the DVD as a present. If it had been a hollywood movie, exactly the same as is, but in English instead of German, it would have been a huge blockbuster, and won lots of Oscars. It is a fairly predictable story, but so well told that it suffers nothing for that. Every aspect of it is superb, the acting, photgraphy, music, settings.
It is a truly great movie. See it!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refined European Romcom, 13 Aug. 2004
This review is from: Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This is no doubt one of the most refined and entertaining European "romcoms" of recent years - a narrative of a highly successful female chef who is missing some love in her private life. The humour throughout really works by playing on the innate and sometimes odd behavioural patterns of the main characters.
While foremost this film provides a very relaxed viewing, there are some overarching cultural themes to be noted. The (romantic) tensions between the rational/structured German and lively-emotional Italian mentality build the base for the life of Martha, Martha's erstwhile sister and Lina, Martha's nice. For British and non-German viewers alike, the narrative provides a captivating insight into the mutual admiration of two European countries for each other's idiosyncracies. With regards to the filming, director Sandra Nettleback used the setting of Lido's (Matha's French/Italian cuisine) Kitchen as the place where it's all happening, and the one bed room flat for the more disruptive patches of the character's relationships. Paolo Conte's music and the lively colors of the food presented add to the positive and enjoyable vibes the viewer gets from the film.
Net net, a film that can be enjoyed more than once and a must-see for those looking for a break from Hollywood movies.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly not comedy, 17 Oct. 2009
By 
Alice Mlynkova (Czech Republic) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
FIrst, I don't know why I thought this was a comedy or at least a romantic story. So don't be surprised as I was - most of the time it's not fun! But it doesn't change the fact that the movie is good and "catchy". Cooking is an essential part of the story - even people who never cook feel like trying it! The life is often here compared to cooking and recipes - even if you have all ingredients and do everything along, the result doesn't have to be perfect.
I hesitated between ***/**** (the story is nothing unusual and it could be 15mins shorter) but decided for more because it is the kind of film which leaves you feeling positive (instead of sour or worried).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious, 8 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
As several rviewers have noted, thank God this wasn't made in Hollywood (even though a ghastly parody of it was). Subtle, sensitive, insightful storytelling and really fine acting, especially from the wonderfully restrained Martina Gedeck, who also starred in the excellent "The Lives of Others" - check it out. Why hasn't she got an Oscar by now? Perhaps because this wasn't made in Tinseltown. But what the hell? Who needs an Ocar when you've made a film like this? It's great viewing, with interesting, rounded characters, a fine script and a remarkably mature performance from the young girl. And then some idiot reviewer, on the cover of the DVD case, goes and calls it "A Bridget Jones' Diary for the culinary set." Don't let that put you off. Do youself a favour and buy it. Well worth having your own copy, as it definitely bears watching more than twice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John O'Loughlin on 'Mostly Martha', 18 Nov. 2011
By 
joholin (London, England, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This is a truly beautiful, heart-warming film that is not without its ups-and-downs, moving gradually from down to up as the protagonist, Martha Klein (played by the excellent Martina Gedeck), takes over the care of her dead sister's daughter while holding down a demanding job as principal chef in a posh Hamburg restaurant, a difficult juggling act which becomes all the more so as a new chef of Italian origin arrives on the scene to seemingly threaten Martha's position. However, he has more use to her than she first thought, since he enables her to get in touch with her niece's father, also Italian, and arrange for the child to return to Italy. But their relationship has deepened in the meantime to something approaching romance and it soon becomes clear to Martha that the sous-chef Mario (played by an ebullient Sergio Castellito) is having a beneficial effect on young Lina, who likes to help out in the restaurant's kitchen. Eventually something approaching a family unit begins to emerge, with Sergio visiting Martha and Lina at home to cook for them, and Lina's subsequent return to Italy with her father, who has in the meantime turned up at their door, has a devastating effect on Martha, who realizes that she has grown maternally attached to the child and finds life empty without her. The denouement is simply superb, if a little over-simplified, but, suffice it to say, things turn out well in the end, better even than could be hoped for, on at least three fronts. Really, a very charming film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Filmgoes ambrosia !!, 10 Sept. 2007
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This review is from: Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I noticed that practically all the reviews carried a 5 star rating hence I feel confident to give it the same rating As i saw it today and it was a sheer delight.I can compare the hollywood version as i have now seen both and and my verdict is that I prefer the original although both are thoughroghly entertaing.(everyone should see both,but not on an empty stomach. Going to the cinema at the normal time is out of the question with my working patterns I have to see a 10-12pm showing which I did last night and had the whole cinema to myself for a showing of "No Reservations" starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron whatshisname?,It took a leap of faith to entice me to go in the first place but I was pleasantly surprised with everything about it, The plot the acting and the music were simply scrumptious. As a former night porter in a hotel I had to smile at everyone "taking five" in the walk-in freezer which I myself used to do along with everyone else on a busy hot night.
my mouth is watering!!! "Bon Appitite"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A conflict of cultures, 25 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
If an example of the conflict between German & Italian culture was ever needed, then this surely has to rank as a good example. The clinical efficiency of the German kitchen finding itself invaded by a laid back Italian chef is just the recipe you know will create conflict. You can guess which style of working culture wins out, but it is how the story gets to this conclusion that is so enjoyable. A real 'feel good' movie that even the 'blokes' will secretly enjoy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars charming bittersweet comedy about acceptance and the pressures of modern day life, 17 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
(the film):The head chef at swish Hamburg restaraunt The Lido, Martha Klein's perfectionism and obsession with good cooking leaves little free time for romantic entanglements. However, when her sister tragically dies in a car accident, Martha's boss Frida insists she take time out to care for her eight year old niece Lina whilst attempts are made to locate Lina's estranged father.Returning to work after struggling to bond with this stubborn, headstrong child, Martha finds that dashing Italian sous-chef Mario has been hired to help in the kitchen. Initially threatened by this unorthodox intruder, Martha slowly comes to confide in him, so beginning a relationship that will fundamentally alter her attitude to life.An enthralling and utterly charming bittersweet comedy about acceptance and the pressures of modern day life, this subtle, flavoursome and engagingly performed tale brought the compelling Gedeck and the equally note perfect Castellito numerous outstanding actor awards....this wonderful cinematic treat. Chefs and lovers, people who have lost someone and those who are caught within themselves, with some inner demons can appreciate this movie that captures both the beauty and complexity of perfection and the freedom of human emotions.
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Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003]
Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003] by Sandra Nettelbeck (DVD - 2003)
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