Kitchen Stories (2004)



Critic Consensus: By turns touching and funny, this Norwegian import offers quietly absorbing commentary on modern life and friendship.

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Movie Info

Director Bent Hamer's comedy drama Salmer Fra Kjøkkenet (Kitchen Stories) is based on the real-life social experiments conducted in Sweden during the 1950s. In the years following WWII, a research institute sets out to modernize the home kitchen by observing a handful of rural Norwegian bachelors. In the small town of Landstad, middle-aged Isak (Joachim Calmeyer) is one such research subject who regrets ever agreeing to participate in the study. Nevertheless, he is observed by Folke (Tomas Norström), and the two develop a strange friendship until the observer becomes sick. This causes a problem with Folke's boss (Reine Brynolfsson) and Isak's friend Grant (Bjørn Floberg).
PG (for mild language)
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
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Joachim Calmeyer
as Isak Bjorvik
Tomas Norström
as Folke Nilsson
Sverre Anker Ousdal
as Dr. Benjaminsen
Leif Andrée
as Dr. Ljungberg
Gard B. Eidsvold
as Bakkerman
Gard B. Eidswold
as Bakkerman
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Critic Reviews for Kitchen Stories

All Critics (75) | Top Critics (28)

An ingeniously dry and bittersweet comedy about that 1940s and '50s research.

November 29, 2004
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

A prime piece of comic anthropology.

August 7, 2004
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

What starts as a satire of the methodical, modernity-seeking society in Sweden ends as a heartwarming dramatic comedy in Norway.

Full Review… | June 11, 2004
Miami Herald
Top Critic

A thoroughly charming oddity. And, in the end, a moving one, too.

April 22, 2004
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Kitchen Stories is so subtle that many viewers will not be aware that it's screamingly funny.

April 15, 2004
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

The droll humour, penned by Hamer with collaborator Jorgen Bergmark, works best at a non-verbal level, when the well-cast Isak and Folke are silently sizing each other up.

Full Review… | March 26, 2004
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Kitchen Stories


The anal retentive Swedes have engineered a scientific study to understand how kitchen space is used, and one place they are looking into this is a small Norwegian town. However, the researchers must NOT interact with their subjects, it ruins objectivity, and that's the set up for this understated, blase look at the desire, the need, for companionship. What's particularly funny is how the subject and researcher slowly begin to unconciously mimic one another.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Very entertaining and quirky film about a Swede who sits in a high chair and examines the kitchen behaviours of a single Norweigan man..before the survey is ruined by their eventual interaction. Very funny.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

One of the more interesting and charming films I've seen. A lesson of friendship, communication, and the need for human interaction. The movie centers around a research study focusing on the kitchen routines and habits of single men in early 1950's Norway. The researchers are supposed to observe from a high chair in the corner, watch the men move about their kitchen and then mark it on a chart. They are not supposed to interact or speak to the research subjects. We all know...that will not last. A very touching film that reminds us how two different people can still become friends!

George Kiriyama
George Kiriyama

Super Reviewer

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