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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim Robbins, Sep 27, 2002.
"Mostly Martha", a German comedy just opened locally today. Does anyone know if it is worthwhile?
It’s worthwhile, if you enjoy ‘Romances’. Pretty standard plot about an uptight, obsessive, control freak woman who meets a go-with-the-flow guy. She does not like him. But needs him. They fall in love, separate, and get back together. In this particular verson, she is a chef and he is a chef. She gets a young girl to take care of. Loses the girl, etc. The restuarant scenes are very funny.
I enjoyed it a fair amount. It’s well constructed and photographed. Acting is mostly pretty good and it’s a film full of life, fun and humor. The film intentionally tries to differentiate between the repressive, cold, bleak German and warm, open, fun-loving Italian societies and locales. This might be a bit too heavy-handed for my tastes. If you enjoy a completely predictable movie of this type, its well-done and worth seeing. But I would not drive to the next city, if times an issue.
Just one person's opinion, but I thought this was a dreadful film. Regressive in technique, aesthetics and in gender roles/issues. The "message" appears to be, in essence, that the driven, career-minded woman just needs a husband and child and all will be well. I love films about food and cooking, but I have never seen a more joyless chef than Martha! I'll put the rest in spoiler mode in case I give away too much. The metaphors for Martha's frigidity (she contantly retreats to a "cold room" whenever she becomes agitated, for example) are groaners, and what is with the 70s-style music montages? Relationships (especially between Martha and the child) are miraculously "developed" via a few shots of fun and laughter accompanied by a cheesy saxophone ditty. There also soes not seem to be any reason at all why the little girl would ever develop any love or trust of Martha. It all just happens miraculously with the aid of that damn saxophone!
I can't recommend this film at all, I'm afraid.
I LOVED this film, a welcome film about food and life, love and happiness. I know it sounds corny, but this and "Elling" are the only films I've left this year feeling, well...GOOD.
"The metaphors for Martha's frigidity (she contantly retreats to a "cold room" whenever she becomes agitated, for example)"...
Perhaps, but I also saw this as a chef having an ideal place to cool off. Having worked in a restaurant for a few years, this is exactly what any restaurant worker would do to de-stress, myself included.
In fact, this film is one of the closest I've seen to the sweat and the agression of what working in a busy restaurant is actually like. That it also happens to be a charming comedy kind of helps, too.
Much like Stanley Tucci’s Big Night, Mostly Martha mixes humor with food to reveal a more serious and dramatic story about personal conflict, self-discovery and finding love. I found the culinary side of the film to be much more enjoyable than the two more familiar subplots involving a young child and a lover. But all three combined makes for a nice outing at the cinema.
Most of the successful chefs that I know end up owning their own restaurants with their significant other or another partner who also likes food but instead, lends their own expertise to tending the financial side of the business. And then there are those like Martha, who are unable to come up with the financing to own his/her own restaurant and end up working for someone else. This side of the story was treated with a great deal of reality.
Fine performances all around by a very good cast.