I have often been accused of my supposed antipathy towards food-related movies (just the thought of Like Water for Chocolate or Woman on Top burns my taste buds), but Sandra Nettelbeck’s German-Italian dish served as above-average by my standards.The melancholy recipe is as follows: Martha, a depressive loner and middle-aged chef must take in her elementary-aged niece after the girl’s mother is fatally killed. The combination clashes due in part that the little girl is facing a major loss, and her difficulty to be looked after (“I wish that I had a recipe for you that I could follow”) merely adds fuel to grill for Martha, who is subsequently facing adequacy issues from the recent hire of an Italian cook. (Martina Gedeck, a cross between Franka Potente, Agnès Jaoui and Rachel Weisz, attains great believability from her economy as Martha.) Mostly Martha avoids the clichés of the genre, specifically because Nettelbeck, serving as writer and director, doesn’t tell her story from a wishy-washy perspective. Rather, and pleasantly surprising, the film maintains staid and pensive. By neglecting to roseate the subject matter, Nettelbeck gains, or exudes a strong maturity. Yet often, maturity can present the occasional stretches of boredom, of which this isn’t completely able to escape at all moments.
Mit Maxime Foerste and Sergio Castellitto.[Worth-seeing.]