Small-town life in Denmark wears on an oddball group of strangers - including attractive bakery clerk Olympia (Stovelbaek) and the new-in-town widowed pastor Andreas (Berthelsen) who falls for her - who come together for beginners' Italian classes at their local adult school and dream of life beyond the bounds of their small hamlet. What starts as a diversion eventually leads them to Italia herself for a magical journey of romance and self-realization.
Why we love it
Part of the Dogme 95 movement that catapulted Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterburg to international stardom, Lone Scherfig turns in a farce that lands far from the weighty entries of her contemporaries. "Italian For Beginners" features the rough-hewn stylistic ingenuity that was the hallmark of the Dogme films energy and appeal, but marries it to a heretofore unseen warmth and a surprising command of screwball comedy. Scherfig's film is disarmingly funny, her cast of Danish regulars is pitch perfect, and its story is proof positive that the boundaries that limit us are usually more mental than physical.