Director: Sandra Nettelbeck
Sandra Nettelbeck’s delightful German film about a neurotic, perfectionist, single, workaholic chef who becomes the guardian of her deceased sister’s young daughter begins as a sad, seemingly predictable drama and turns into something delectable and unique as the film continues. Martina Gedeck is excellent as the controlling title character who wishes for life to come with its own little recipe and Sergio Castellitto is the ultimate scene stealer as the charismatic, easy-going new Italian chef hired to work in her kitchen. Castellitto sets his sights on Martha and manages-- against her will-- to cause the stern woman to melt as the film progresses. In an interesting twist of gender, he learns that the way to the female hearts of Martha and her niece are through their stomachs as his authentic Italian cuisine wins them over—they’re hungry not only for his main courses but his friendship and love as well. Nettelbeck's film is even richer due to the excellent choice of music throughout.