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Italian for Beginners (2000)

Italiensk for begyndere

Starring:

Anders W. Berthelsen

Anette Støvelbæk

Ann Eleonora Jørgensen

Lars Kaalund

Peter Gantzler

Sara Indrio Jensen

Directed by:

Lone Scherfig

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 107 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: Denmark

'Italian for Beginners' is a Danish film, subtitled in English. It tells the story of a group of thirty-something misfit singles in a small Danish town. They have nothing in common other than that their lives interconnect through evening classes spent learning Italian together.

One is the new temporary minister, whose wife has recently died, and who has to deal with a congregation of three – complete with heckling from his disgraced predecessor. Another is a hotel clerk who has been given the order to fire his best friend. Then there is the hairdresser with the alcoholic mother who is going to find that she has links she never suspected with the clumsy girl from the bakery.

All are going through changes in their lives, and they turn to each other to help them through the various crises they face, in time becoming friends and lovers. The language of love becomes one they have in common and changes all their lives.

'Charming' is a word often overused in describing romantic comedies, but in the case of this gentle and warm comedy it is more than fitting. The whole cast deserve great credit for the superb job they do of dealing with the improvised script, giving their characters a freshness and appeal that is rarely seen on screen. At times the comedy may be black, but sooner or later one finds oneself smiling with genuine affection at the students as they grow closer. Together they produce a film with appeal that goes far beyond the usual market for subtitled films.

It's Got: Adorable characters with oodles of charm.

It Needs: A dubbed version to make it more widely accessible.

DVD Extras This film was not made with a DVD release in mind. Extras: Theatrical Trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

La Vita è Bella, Together (Tillsammans)

Summary

A charming and gentle romantic comedy that deserves much wider recognition.

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