It’s almost Christmas, and Marie (Kirsten Olesen) is working late at the business she owns with her husband, Henrik (Peter Hesse Overgaard). When she receives a call to remind her of the annual lunch with her two oldest friends, Vanja (Kirsten Lehfeldt) and Berling (Stina Ekblad), Marie disappoints them for the third year in a row, too busy with her elaborate preparations for a perfect Christmas with her extended family.
But when Marie is betrayed without warning, leaving her reeling, the Christmas gift of an Italian cuisine course for two in Puglia, Italy, no longer holds any appeal, and she offers the gift to Vanja and Berling, who insist that she go with them. And so to Italy they go, where each embarks on her own heartfelt odyssey.
Anyone who has faced the betrayal of a lifetime’s steadfast loyalty will relate to Kirsten Olesen’s Maria; anyone who has faced profound grief will sympathise and warm to Kirsten Lehfeldt’s Vanja; and anyone who has chosen, for whatever reason, to face life alone, will understand Stina Ekblad’s Berling. These women, different in many ways from each other, are nevertheless bound by their shared history and, perhaps more importantly, by their ability to understand and embrace the truth about one another and to forgive and love.
Captivating cinematography contrasts the cold, snowy winter of Denmark with the warmth and lusciousness of the Italian countryside in summer, external representations of loneliness and sorrow contrasting with burgeoning life and its possibilities.
Exploring themes of ageing, regret, loss, hope, joy, and wisdom, The Food Club is a delightful reminder that there’s no such thing as the perfect life and that the dreams of youth tend to vapourise as the vicissitudes of adult life take over, and that, for all that, the love and loyalty of true friendship can sustain us and give us the courage that ageing necessitates if we are to enjoy the joyful possibilities that are there for the taking, no matter our age.
Screening at Palace cinemas.
— MICHELE E. HAWKINS