Mostly Martha (2001)
"Bella Martha" (original title)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Romance, Drama  |  27 September 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 6,659 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 84 user | 57 critic | 28 from

When a headstrong chef takes charge of her equally stubborn 8-year-old niece, the tensions between them mount... until an Italian sous-chef arrives to lighten the mood.


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14 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Maxime Foerste ...
August Zirner ...
Sibylle Canonica ...
Katja Studt ...
Idil Üner ...
Sam Thalberg
Gerhard Garbers ...
Herr Steinberg
Angela Schmidt ...
Frau Steinberg
Diego Ribon ...
Giuseppe Lorenzo
W.D. Sprenger ...
Noisy customer
Victoria Trauttmansdorff ...
Companion (as Victoria von Trautmannsdorf)


In a German restaurant, Chef Martha Klein is the undisputed supreme ruler of the kitchen staff and woe to any customer who would dare criticize her cooking. Her life is firmly centered around cooking which takes on a obsessive level with stubborn single mindedness. Even when she is ordered to take therapy, she still constantly talks about her work and the iron clad control she relishes in her task. All that changes when her sister dies in a car accident, leaving her 8 year old daughter, Lina. Martha takes her niece in and while making enquiries for her estranged father, she struggles to care for this stubbornly headstrong child. Meanwhile at work, a new chef named Mario is hired on and Martha feels threatened by this unorthodox intruder. The pressures of both her private and work life combine to create a situation that will fundamentally call her attitudes and life choices into question while these interlopers into her life begin to profoundly change it. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In Martha's enchanted kitchen, more than the food is starting to simmer. With some special ingredients they just might discover a recipe for passion. See more »


Comedy | Romance | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material and mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



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Release Date:

27 September 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mostly Martha  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$40,446 (USA) (16 August 2002)


$4,158,045 (USA) (17 January 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sergio Castellitto's German wasn't good enough so Frank Glaubrecht was brought in to dub his voice for the German version. See more »


When Martha and Mario first kiss, he leans to the right with the left side of their noses touching. In the next shot he's leaning to the left. See more »


Lina Klein: I'm not going without my scarf!
See more »


Remade as No Reservations (2007) See more »


1989 EMI Records Ltd
Written by Arthur Schwartz and Sammy Cahn, but attributed to Johns/Salvador
Performed by Dean Martin
© Published by Universal / Warner Chappell Publishing
See more »

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User Reviews

Home Cooking
9 January 2004 | by See all my reviews

It's almost as if Nettelbeck had been given a recipe for a perfect film - start with the tried-and-tested, take a character living alone, set in his/her ways then saddle him/her with a young kid and simmer the love-hate on a low flame; add a culture clash and vamp til ready -and discarded it in favor of her own ingredients. The culinery metaphor is self-explanatory but it IS fun to see the heavy, lard-based German cuisine slugging it out with the lighter, oil-based Italian style. Up front we have two cold teutonic hearts, aunt and neice and with the introduction of the Italian extrovert chef we know it is only a matter of time til the warm Italian sun thaws the cold aryan hearts. That's pretty much what happens but it is a DELIGHT to go along for the ride and surrender your emotional taste-buds to Nettelbeck's expertise for the entire running time. I've just seen this movie for the second time in about 8 months and I was just as captivated this time around. 9/10

30 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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