Friday, 25 October 2013

Mostly Martha vs No Reservations

This time the films are Mostly Martha, 2001 (German) vs No Reservations, 2007 (US). The last post about The Vanishing films, I didn't really pick a winner of sorts, I just laid out my opinions about each film as it was an example. This time and from now on, I will pick a film at the end of the post. After all I did put 'vs' in the title.

I watched both films in the most difficult way. Mostly Martha was viewed in instalments on Youtube. This was disruptive and the video was extremely bad quality. I later saw that it was on Netflix when I signed up again. No Reservations was viewed on a very good website that had many 'old' movies uploaded to it, I say old because it was over 5 years ago, old in movie terms. The quality wasn't bad but the fact my internet kept cutting out meant that the annoying timer sign popped up frequently.

Mostly Martha was the first film I saw. I had been told by a friend's mother that No Reservations was a remake and since 2007 I had wanted to the see the original. Martha Klein (Martina Gedeck) is a gourmet chef in Germany, a perfectionist who lives only for her work. But when her sister dies in a car crash, she is left as the only guardian of her 8 year old niece, Lina. She takes time off to settle Lina into her new life but is appalled to find another chef in her kitchen when she returns to work. Mario (Sergio Castellitto) is hired as a sous-chef and works very different to Martha. But of course sparks fly when Mario bonds with Lina who eats his food but hasn't touched any of Martha's. First off, I loved it. It is a film that is about loss, death, family and of course cooking but it disguises itself as a romantic drama with some comedic moments.

No Reservations, on the surface looks like the run of the mill rom-com, but of course it isn't. The film was marketed as a romantic comedy set in the kitchen where the main character, Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a head chef becomes the guardian of her niece, Zoe (Abigail Breslin). That is seen as a side dish, when it is the main course, her possible romance with the new chef, Nick (Aaron Eckhart), is the actual side story. I judged this film by its terrible poster and predictable looking trailer and I am glad to say I was proved wrong. Apart from name changes and the film being set in New York, the film more or less has a similar if not the same narrative. It was the marketing that let this film down but get over that and you'll see it is a good portrayal of family. And the food made me hungry, in both films.

Verdict: I preferred Mostly Martha. My ultimate reason, both family story and potential love story were given equal time which made sense to me.

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