By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Angry chef finds peace in Italy; language.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Every one of us can be special if seen through the eyes of an admirer.
Positive Role Models
Theo is hot-tempered, angry, demanding, unpleasant. After revisiting his childhood haunts in Italy, he becomes a better person. A girl was orphaned and taken in by a kind person.
Set mostly in Italy, with Danish and Italian actors and at least one Roma character.
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Violence & Scariness
A man punches another man for kissing his wife.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A woman about to get married kisses a friend from her youth, which reignites an old love.
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"F--k" and "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Toscana, a 2022 Danish-Italian drama, follows a gifted, award-winning Danish chef on his journey from old anger and superiority to decency and acceptance. The change is prompted by an inheritance that returns him to the Tuscan countryside of his childhood. Adults kiss and drink alcohol. A man punches another man for kissing his wife. Language includes "f--k" and "s--t." In Danish and Italian with English subtitles.
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What's the Story?
High-strung genius chef Theo (Anders Matthesen) has a short fuse with his sous chefs, with his wealthy backer, with his longtime manager, and with himself. He needs to be dislodged from his angry, solitary rut, and the death of his estranged father, a chef in Tuscany, is the tool that pries him loose. In TOSCANA, he grudgingly travels to the Tuscan acreage, restaurant, and inn his father left him to quickly dispose of the rundown property. Instead, he falls for Sophia (Cristiana Dell'Anna), the childhood friend he's forgotten his dad had taken in. The restaurant is doing poorly, and he agrees to cater her wedding there, partly to impress her and partly to show an interested buyer the property's potential as a restaurant-hotel complex. Sophia seems smitten, too, yet she still reluctantly says "I do" to her unsuspecting groom. Will Theo go back to Denmark and never look back?
Is It Any Good?
As another addition to the growing genre of movies about ill-tempered chefs, Toscana offers something lyrical and eloquent in what is left unsaid. It isn't clear if all the unfilled blank spaces left in this movie are artful and deliberate or just happenstance. And that unanswered question rises during the movie's duller moments. Perhaps it's genius to allow us to fill in so many unknowns ourselves, or perhaps no one working on the film could come up with the words or actions that could make everything more explicit but also equally moving.
How does the story end? We really don't know. Why does the chef abandon his fancy big-city Danish restaurant for overgrown acreage in Tuscany? We don't know that for certain, either. What we do know is that Theo seems happier, more open, more encouraging to his protégés, and generally kinder and more comfortable in his own skin. That can't be a bad thing.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how difficult it can be to grow past childhood trauma. What does the movie suggest made Theo so angry at his father?
How does this compare to other movies about ill-tempered chefs?
What does the movie say about creativity?
- On DVD or streaming: May 18, 2022
- Cast: Cristiana Dell'Anna, Anders Matthesen, Laerke Winther
- Director: Mehdi Avaz
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 17, 2023
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