The Food Club holds few surprises but has loads of heart.

It’s the story of three women who’ve been friends since childhood. The shot of them jumping off a pier into a lake marks the end of their young womanhood/feminist friendship as they jump into their adult lives. Fast forward 30 (ish) year. Each has gone their own way – this is underscored in their different Christmases.

Berling (Stina Ekblad) is the sophisticate with limited parenting skills – I sooo sympathise. Vanja (Kirsten Lehfeldt) and her dog sit at her husband’s grave sharing a “meal”—yep, there’s a bit of me there too. The two meet annually but there’s someone missing. Marie. Marie (Kirsten Olesen) is an accountant married to her job because it’s her husband’s company. Underappreciated, you just wanna smack her for being a drudge to her family and grandchildren, she fails to make the meetings.

So, a dramatic event at Christmas prompts the three to take a cooking holiday in Italy to rekindle their friendship.

Interruption – the photography of Puglia is a missed opportunity. Perched on the Adriatic Sea, the small Italian town has glorious scenery; you probably know the unique houses, trulli. Another missed opportunity is the food. Each menu is flashed too quickly on the screen to read. And the shots of the food are rather prosaic—clearly, the focus is the women.

So, while at the school the women learn something about food, a little about their friendship but mostly about themselves. No spoilers here.

It’s a funny film – there are lots of wry laughs. And a few laugh-out-loud moments. Some laughs are too close to the truth for comfort. And it proves to us that stereotypes exist because they are so commonplace. It is great to see such older women on the screen, looking fabulous. When did wrinkles become a bad look?

If you’re up for a warm-hearted female-centric comedy – think The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Jane Austen Book Club—this is your film.

English Subtitles, 100 minutes, Comedy

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