“The Food Club” (M) 1 ½ stars
DESPITE its long and illustrious film industry, we don’t see many Danish movies nowadays. Which is a pity, because Danish filmmakers have since 1906 delivered a steady flow of good movies that in their heyday equalled Hollywood.
I’d like to tell you that “The Food Club” is a worthy successor of its Danish predecessors. But I honestly can’t. Sure, its trio of principal characters gets to deliver some agreeably frank dialogue and behaviour, which I regard as a forward step in gender liberation. But too much of the film simply didn’t work for me.
Three longtime girlfriends are in the autumn of their lives. Marie’s (Kirsten Olesen) husband abandoned her on Christmas Eve. Eternal bachelor girl Berling (Stina Ekblad) outwardly denies her age and lives the sweet life, but in the background is affected by a complicated relationship with her daughter. Vanja (Kirsten Lehfeldt), living with memories of her late husband, has difficulty moving on. The three women travel to Puglia in Italy together to attend a food course.
These background factors offer scope for a film that might have been amusing or dramatic or poignant. But what hits the screen doesn’t hit any of those stylistic marks with credible impact.
I didn’t laugh or smile. I didn’t feel on the edge of my seat. The narrative was trivial, its principal characters too too filled with self pity and its visual delivery listless.
The ultimate reason for my disappointment was that writer Anne-Marie Olesen delivered women old enough to know what’s what about life and relationships but let none of their behaviours reflect any wisdom accumulated from life’s experiences.
And director Barbara Topsøe-Rothenborg not only let her get away with that but also compounded it with a visual environment that, where it needed strength, simply fails to deliver. I certainly would find it hard to enthuse about any food created in the cooking-school sequences.
At Palace Electric