Italian for Beginners

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1

ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS tells the story of six lonely, disconnected people in Copenhagen, each looking for something more in their lives. The six connect through a local Italian language class they take together. Class members include Jrgen Mortensen (Peter Gantzler), an amiable middle-aged hotel clerk with hopes of dating Gulia (Sara Indrio Jensen), a native Italian. Gulia cooks for a local restaurant owned by Jrgens best friend, gruff Hal-Finn (Lars Kaalund). Finns interest in Italian, stems from his love for the Italian national soccer team. Also in the class is newly-arrived pastor Andreas (Anders W. Berthelsen), recently-widowed and only expecting to fill in a short-time for a suspended minister. He befriends the clumsy Olympia (Anette Stvelbk), both of them are in the class more for companionship than to learn the language. Eventually, even the local hairdresser Karen (Ann Eleonora Jrgensen), whom Hal-Finn admires, makes an appearance in the class. Overall, the film is a sweet, enjoyable romantic comedy that should delight those who dont mind the subtitles.

The movie, in Danish and Italian subtitles, is filmed in the famous Dogme style, which basically means using only natural light, no sets, no makeup and often has lots of close-up camera shots. The style supposedly provides a more realistic portrayal of the story, making the characters seem that much closer to and authentic to the audience. The style works in this case, with limited camera shaking a common complaint in most Dogme efforts. One of the central characters is Pastor Andreas. Since he replaces the previous pastor, who was suspended for teaching improper doctrine, he appears to be traditionally orthodox. Struggling with his own beliefs after the death of his wife, Andreas not only encourages people to pray, he expresses belief in a real and personal God. He also gives God credit for leading a woman to reform her ways. There is some discussion of one mans impotence, as well as a couple of other sexually charged comments. One scene implies sex as a couple begins to take their clothes off while kissing. Foul language noted in subtitles is limited to a few obscenities, one regular profanity, and several mild crudities. These few objectionable elements in ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS slightly degrade what could be an enjoyable date movie for adults.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, NY, NY 10013

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (6) times All Mild

Obscene Language: Few (4) times - F-word 3, other 1

Profanity: Once Regular (JC)

Violence: None

Sex: Once Implied (couple kissing/ removing some clothes no nudity)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (man discusses impotence, woman makes comment about castrating man, man talks about getting sex)

Drugs: None

Other: God acknowledged as helping woman reform her ways; pastor encourages man to pray; woman spoken of as person of faith; man struggles to believe in God after wifes death

Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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