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Italian for Beginners (2000)
"Italiensk for begyndere" (original title)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 10,487 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 86 user | 95 critic | 28 from Metacritic.com

Several lonely hearts in a semi-provincial suburb of a town in Denmark use a beginner's course in Italian as the platform to meet the romance of their lives.

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Title: Italian for Beginners (2000)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anders W. Berthelsen ...
...
...
Karen
Peter Gantzler ...
Lars Kaalund ...
Sara Indrio Jensen ...
Karen-Lise Mynster ...
Kirsten, the real estate dealer
Rikke Wölck ...
Lise, the nurse
Elsebeth Steentoft ...
Bent Mejding ...
Reverend Wredmann
Lene Tiemroth ...
Karen's Mother
Claus Gerving ...
Klaus Graversen
...
Olympia's Father
Merete Voldstedlund ...
Andreas' mother (scenes deleted)
Henning Jensen ...
Leif (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

A young minister, a widower, is temporarily assigned to a church whose suspended pastor drove parishioners away; he stays at a hotel where he meets Jørgen, who's alone approaching middle age. Jørgen's friend Finn, a temperamental restaurant manager, may be about to be fired. Finn's assistant is Giulia, a lovely young Italian who prays for a husband. Olympia, a clumsy bakery clerk, has an ornery father; Karen, a hairdresser, has a mother who is very ill. The paths of these six characters cross at church, in the restaurant, at the hotel, and at an Italian class at the local adult school. Loneliness, grief, solace, romance, and love may meet 'nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita.' Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

italian | restaurant | hotel | church | love | See more »

Taglines:

Asistencia Opcional. Pasión Requerida. (Attendance Optional. Passion Required) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

8 December 2000 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Italiensk for begyndere  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£48,027 (UK) (3 May 2002)

Gross:

$4,447,186 (USA) (5 July 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Zentropa Productions have acknowledged plot similarities to Maeve Binchy's novel "Evening Class". Binchy was not credited in the original release as Zentropa had determined they were not in breach of copyright, but after Binchy's representatives approached them they paid compensation and added a credit for her in later releases. See more »

Goofs

At the Christmas service, the congregation use the hymn book to sing "Barn Jesus i en krybbe lå". However, this song was not included in the hymn book of 1953 (which would be the one used in the movie) as it was not considered a "proper" hymn until 2003, when it was included in the newest version of the hymn book. See more »

Quotes

Olympia's Father: That sounds disgusting.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bodilfesten 2001 (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

O sole mio
(1898)
Music by Eduardo Di Capua
Lyrics by Giovanni Capurro
See more »

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User Reviews

Nine Lovely People, No Villains!
24 January 2002 | by (New York, N.Y.) – See all my reviews

What a pleasure "Italian for Beginners" is. Each character is appealing as well as complex and recognizable. A new pastor, bereft after his wife's death, interacts with an assortment of people who by accident or stumbling and fumbling intent come together in overlapping relationships. Romance is in the air, deaths dislocate several of the characters' lives, comedic movements help all to cope with the vagaries of life.

Taking place mostly in Denmark (with a restaurant manager whose style convinces me that he must have done an internship in a New York City eatery), the story revolves around the central goal of learning Italian. Only one of the main characters is from Italy, a beautiful waitress with the clearest agenda of anyone in the film. After wrestling through a non-Berlitz approach to the language all head for Venice where hearts meet and fun reigns.

Dogma 95 certificate or not, this is a convincing, endearing, excellent film. By intent or otherwise, many scenes are shot with a slight jerkiness that adds to a viewer's sense of inclusion.

Unfortunately this film won't screen in many theatres and rentals and sales will be the path to a wider audience. And this film merits a very big following.


19 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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