The Food Club
A Film Review.
Ever since Audrey Hepburn in A Roman Holiday mesmerised audiences, movie-goers have been captivated by the endless possibilities that comes with a trip to Il Bel Paese. Since then, some films have more beautifully captured the chaos, wonder and beauty of an Italian summer than others. We’ve seen Julia Roberts eat her way through Rome in Eat,Pray, Love. We fondly recall when Hilary Duff was mistaken for an Italian pop star in The Lizzie McGuire Movie, and we’ve witnessed both Diane Lane and Sarah Jessica Parker experience summer flings with Italian heart-throb Raoul Bova with varying degrees of success in their respective films, Under The Tuscan Sun and All Roads Lead to Rome. While the cities, heroines and plots may differ slightly, one thing remains certain – a trip to Italy is life-changing.
And while it may seem like the trope of rediscovering oneself in Italy has been reimagined multiple times, in a year when travel to Italy has been off the cards; such films could not be more welcomed for fellow Italophiles. The latestItalian summer escapade to hit the big screen is The Food Club, a Danish film by Barbara Topsøe-Rothenborg.
The Food Club kicks off in a similar way to Eat,Pray Love and Under The Tuscan Sun, where the film’s protagonist, in this case Kirsten Olesen’s Marie is left at a cross-roads after her husband leaves her. The separation is painful for Marie, has been married for most of her life and doesn’t know how to define herself now that she is no longer a wife. Not wanting the trip to an Italian cooking school that her children had gifted her and her husband for Christmas to go to waste, Marie reigns in her two best friends Berling and Vanja to join her.
The three friends were inseparable when they were young, but life has taken them down different paths and each is facing their own personal conflict. While Marie is navigating life as a recently single woman, her friend Vanja (Kirsten Lehfedldt) is still struggling to move on from the death of her husband while Berling (Stina Ekblad) is having issues with her daughter. More complications and chaos ensues when they arrive at their cooking tour in the picturesque Puglia , where they encounter a charming Italian (Michele Venitucci) a younger couple who seem to be devoid of any sense of fun and a handsome guest who takes an instant liking to Vanja.
As can be expected with these types of films, the three characters go on their own respective journey of self-discovery where chaos and hilarity ensues; while at the same time enjoying the beautiful landscape and mouth-watering dishes that Puglia has to offer. Stina Ekblad is a scene stealer and warrants the most laughs as the hilarious Berling, while Kirsten Lehfeldt’s Vanja offers storyline is the most sincere.
While there’s plenty of beautiful landscape and food porn to admire; the central plot around Marie falls a little flat and lacks emotional depth. In the brief moments that Marie has with her estranged husband; there is little chemistry. It’s hard to comprehend exactly what relationship she is grieving throughout the film.
While The Food Club is an enjoyable film, it lacks a few good ingredients to make it really stand out amongst other travelogue films.The storyline is predictable, the pacing is rushed and the characters lack the warmth and wide-eyed wonder that other heroines from similar films have embodied. Regardless, The Food Club boasts plenty of heart, stunning scenery and the opportunity to see La Bella Italia on the big screen, and that in itself is a welcome sight during these trying times.
The Food Club is now showing at Palace Cinemas Australia wide.