Mostly Martha This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Cooked to perfection with afulfilling, succulent plot, "Mostly Martha" is seasoned with a zest ofturbulence which sweeps through the main character's life and lightly glazed witha hint of sweetness from moments of light humor which shine through the moredominant coats of tension and conflict. And, to top it off, the film is a Germanproduction, so pay close attention to the sometimes hard-to-read Englishsubtitles at the bottom of the screen, or brush up on yourGerman.

"Mostly Martha" tells the tale of a temperamental,perfectionist chef named Martha (no, not Martha Stewart), played by MartinaGedeck, who works at an upscale restaurant in Hamburg. From the start, it'sevident that Martha's entire life revolves around the kitchen: in her sessionswith her psychiatrist, she describes her life in terms of food, and she isolatesherself from the rest of the world by pouring every ounce of her life into hercooking.

Working with machine-like precision, Martha shows no sign ofemotion, operating on almost an unconscious level when preparing her foods. Shebe-comes so involved, in fact, that she literally throws a piece of meat back ata customer who claims that it isn't rare enough, citing the exact temperature,time and method that was used to prepare it. The restaurant's owner puts up withher because she's "the second best chef in town," but it's obvious fromthe start that Martha has something missing in her life.

And so Martha'sneat, orderly life seems destined to be thrown into disarray, which it is whenher sister, a single mother, dies in a car crash, leaving Martha to cope with herniece, Lina (Maxime Foerste).

Passionate about cooking and with utterdisregard for precision, Mario is loved by the staff, and often sings whilecooking. In other words, he is the exact opposite of Martha, which causes initialfriction, but he is perhaps just what Martha needs to get her life inperspective. Mario adds a bit of comic humor as he persuades Martha to sample hisspaghetti, the recipe for which he supposedly acquired from his "dyingmother," just as he later convinces Lina to eat after her mother's death.And so it seems destined that a relationship will develop between these two verydifferent chefs.

Martina Gedeck is exacting in her performance as Martha,just as her character is in cooking. Martha's cold, impersonal edge and obsessionwith perfection allows her to hide her vulnerable, somewhat unsteady psyche whileshe tries to cope with her newfound "motherhood." While utterlyconfident in the kitchen, Martha lacks the ability to communicate with otherseffectively, shown when she introduces herself to her new neighbor by asking ifhe wants something to eat.

Castellito, who plays Mario, portrays thefriendly, passionate character who shows Martha a new "recipe" to life,one more spicy than her previous lifestyle. Rarely serious, Mario provides comicrelief in a movie which is primarily a drama.

The music in "MostlyMartha" is astoundingly harmonized with the mood and atmosphere, beingappropriately smooth and jazzy with the snowy Hamburg background. The main theme,"Country" from the Keith Jarett album "My Song," iswonderfully flowing with a touch of melancholy, and has a catchy tune; it's nowonder they often repeat this song.

Director and writer Sandra Nettelbeckhas created an enthralling love story between two people with very differentpersonalities.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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