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 <email@example.com>
This film is an excellent psychological study of a VERY controlled and emotionally constricted woman who uses food, believe it or not, as a way of avoiding intimacy. She is a superb chef who is incredibly precise and demanding concerning her cooking because she is so uncomfortable with people. However, into her tightly controlled world comes chaos in the form of her niece--whose mother was just killed in an auto accident. Not surprisingly, she has a hard time relating to this child and I was thrilled that her transformation to a whole person took time and wasn't achieved in a Hollywood-style way. Instead, this little girl (who was not overly cute or fake--thank goodness) and a new chef at her restaurant (who was completely unlike her) influence Martha in a way that is believable and satisfying.
By the way, while not quite as good as The Big Night (which came out the same year) or Babette's feast, this movie is VERY reminiscent of them--elevating food to a true work of art.
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