The Arts, the Senses, and the Imagination
by Robert Millar on February 3rd, 2014

This is the second in a series of posts recommending films that feature food as a catalytic agent in transforming people’s lives. Mostly Martha is the story of a woman who has put all her time and life's effort into becoming the very best possible restaurant chef, but whose obsessively myopic focus on her cooking career has narrowed her existence down to the point that it’s feeling frozen and barren. She only feels fully alive when she is involved in cooking, so she cooks more and more desperately to stave off the increasingly pressing feelings of loneliness and alienation that pursue her whenever she is out of the kitchen. Both the tragic and fortunate events we witness in the film serve to propel her out of her self-imposed isolation and toward a kind of rebirth into the realm of human warmth and kindness.

 At its core, the film is a love story, but not only in the romantic sense. It is also a film about love expressed as compassion, tenderness, patience, understanding, forgiveness, generosity, and humor. Performances are uniformly outstanding, embracing as they do a wide range of human interactions and dynamics. Watch the actor’s eyes, facial expressions, and body language for some fine nonverbal acting. And the warm, easy-going charm of Sergio Castellito as Mario is particularly enchanting not only to Martha, but to us in the audience as well. It's the type of film that fills you with renewed resolve to invest more time in enjoying and improving the quality of both your cooking and your relationships.

Mostly Martha is performed in a combination of languages, but has English subtitles. It is available on Netflix, Amazon Instant View, You Tube, and other internet streaming services, or can be purchased. An American remake of this film was released in 2007, but the original is so good that one wonders why.

Screenwriter: Sandra Nettelbeck
Director: Sandra Nettelbeck
Martha: Martina Gedeck
Mario: Sergio Castellito

Posted in DRAMA AND FILM    Tagged with mostly martha, drama, FILM, gastronomic films


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