Mostly Martha (Bella Martha) (PG, 2001)
Mostly Martha was the inspiration for 2007’s No Reservations, but don’t hold that against it. The German original is set in contemporary Köln, and features The Lives of Others’ Martina Gedek as Martha, the neurotic, workaholic head chef of a high-end restaurant. When her boss forces her into therapy, Martha just cooks for her shrink. When her new downstairs neighbor flirts with her, she’s awkward and terse. As lonely as she is a loner, Martha must readjust everything when she becomes the guardian of her niece, Lina (Maxime Foerste), and her boss hires a playful Italian sous-chef (Sergio Castellitto, most recently of Paris, je t’aime and Prince Caspian) to split her duties in the kitchen. By turns tragic, comic, and romantic, Mostly Martha is not only a great story, but a foodie’s dream to watch.