Kanopy Movie Review: “Mostly Martha” (2001)

When my husband and I received this movie as a gift many years ago, it took us a long time to actually watch the film. Once we did, we realized what a lovely gift of a film it was; I just smiled when I saw it among the KANOPY selections. I can’t wait to watch it again this weekend.

A German-made film (yes, subtitled), Mostly Martha is about a workaholic chef (Martha) who is forced to adjust to major changes in her personal and professional life when her eight-year-old niece, Lina, arrives on her doorstep. Martha’s sister has been killed in a car accident.

Martha and Lina’s relationship evolves slowly, sometimes painfully, as Martha is forced to address the needs of this sweet, but depressed and grieving child. Up until Lina’s arrival, Martha devoted every waking hour to her work. Every dish she created was a masterpiece; every night was a late night. Martha’s shyness, combined with her long, late work days, make it difficult for her to create a life with anyone, let alone care for a child.

Her connection to Lina develops with the help of Mario, Martha’s new Italian sous-chef. He wins the hearts of both Lina and Martha as he works to cheer them up with jokes and elaborate meals. He helps Martha locate and write a letter to Lina’s long-absent father in Italy.

And of course, the father appears just as relationships and routines seem to be settling. What happens next? You’ll have to watch.

Review by Roberta Jordan, the Outreach and Instruction Librarian.

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