Romantic comedy in which a group of thirty-something misfits find their lives intertwined through attending Italian classes. A recently widowed minister takes up a temporary post in a suburban church, where the congregation is three and his predecessor heckles during his sermons. Meanwhile, an already harassed hotel clerk is given the job of firing his hot-headed best friend, a hairdresser who can't cut hair without being interrupted by her alcoholic mother and the girl in the bakery who keeps dropping the cakes. Beautiful performances and an improvised script create this fresh, moving and uplifting portrait of people finding love, friendship and community far away from traditional family ties.
A Delightfully Quirky Danish Film
- Italian for Beginners review by JB
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Italian for Beginners deals with a year in the lives of a small group of adults who connect through a tiny evening class for learning Italian. The film, which won numerous international awards including a Silver Bear at Berlin, is a light comedy, though with few laugh-out-loud moments, finding its humour in the foibles of daily life rather than in slapstick or one-liners. The main characters are all somewhat lonely people looking for, if not love, then at least, companionship. You can't help but root for these slightly awkward but likeable loners and hope that somehow they will break through to make the connections they are looking for. The film reminds me a bit of Woody Allen's more cerebral comedies. If you enjoyed those films (and don't mind sub-titled foreign films) I think you'll love this one.
Sidelight: The film was inspired by Maeve Binchy's novel Evening Class which followed a similar adult class in beginning Italian set, of course, in Ireland.