Mostly Martha (Bella Martha) (2001)



Critic Consensus: Mostly Martha may have a predictable plot, but it still feels charming and fresh, and the food will make you hungry.

Movie Info

Martha is the chef at a small gourmet restaurant in Hamburg who creates mini-masterpieces in every dish. She devotes every waking hour to her work and her shyness keeps her from breaking out of her monotonous routine or meeting new people. When her sister dies in an accident, however, she is compelled to adopt Lina, her 8-year-old niece. Martha's life changes in an instant: not only is she faced with adjusting to her new parental role, but she must also find inspired ways to deal with Lina's … More

Rating: PG (for thematic material and mild language)
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: Sandra Nettelbeck
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 18, 2003
Box Office: $4.0M
Paramount Classics - Official Site


as Martha's Therapist

as Bernadette

as Herr Steinberg

as Frau Steinberg

as Guiseppe Lorenzo

as Bartender

as Babysitter

as Noisy Customer

as Kitchen Youth

as Sam's Daughter

as Sam's Son

as Policeman

as Unsatisfied Customer

as Unsatisfied Customer...
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Mostly Martha (Bella Martha)

All Critics (95) | Top Critics (32)

This well-made and entertaining romantic comedy drama provides ample proof that German writer-director Sandra Nettelbeck can turn out a classier commercial feature than most of her Hollywood contemporaries.

Full Review… | October 16, 2014
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Though utterly predictable, this kitchen-set romantic comedy about a severe German woman and a fun-loving Italian cook, has a certain charm, and it's about food, which speaks well for commercial appeal.

Full Review… | July 17, 2007
Top Critic

Nettelbeck serves the tastiest film about food and sex since Big Night.

October 2, 2002
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Nettelbeck has given the viewer a genuine catharsis and a cinematic meal that isn't perfect -- but is all the better for it.

September 19, 2002
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Predictable but still charming German romantic comedy, centering on the erotic appeal of food

Full Review… | June 17, 2011

German film about finding family.

Full Review… | January 2, 2011
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for Mostly Martha (Bella Martha)

Yummy from beginning to end. Not only is Martha quirky to watch, but the food preparation alone is worth sitting through this movie. Sweet and stylish. Passionate. Heart warming.

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


This was a great film, The one I rented had English Subtitles and was in German. It started out slow, but really picked up and was very funny. If your into subtitle Movies get this one or rent it, you will not be sorry.

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

This is the most charming movie I have seen in a long time. It was very linear as far as foreign films go so if you want a very twisty, R Rated (as this is a PG film) foreign film this isn't it. What you get here is a great character development/study, a wonderful love story, and to watch a person who desperately needs to break out of her self-constructed cage...Well anyway...Martina Gedeck plays the marvelous Martha, a woman/cook who is very stuck in her ways and needs a few things to shake up her world a bit before she actually decides to smell the coffee as it were. You are able to watch this character blossom utilizing the vehicles of therapy and food to convey changes in character. Don't be surprised if you get REALLY hungry watching this film (much as you might if you were to be watching the incredible film, "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman). This is a wonderful movie and will leave you feeling just right.

Dean L

Super Reviewer

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