Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28

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Critic Reviews

  1. Lone Scherfig, the writer-director, has made a film so unabashedly hopeful that it actually makes the heart soar. Yes, soar.
  2. Newsweek
    Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Scherfig and her wonderful cast slyly transmute the quotidian into the magical. It’s like watching flowers bloom in a concrete garden.
  3. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    This is a woman's work in the best sense -- empathetic, inferentially erotic and delicately intuitive, as well as fiercely intelligent.
  4. A delicious and delicately funny look at the residents of a Copenhagen neighborhood coping with the befuddling complications life tosses at them.
  5. Time
    Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    The sober wit of this comedy arises not from conventional artifice -- snappy dialogue, wacky situations -- but from a realistically drawn ensemble interacting truthfully with one another.
  6. Baltimore Sun
    Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    Italian for Beginners, on its own small scale, is a one-of-a-kind movie: a baggy-pants spiritual comedy.
  7. This is a movie that doesn't depend for its effects on star performers or stylized wish-fulfillment sexuality but on realism, sharp observation and honest humor.
  8. New York Daily News
    Reviewed by: Jami Bernard
    It's the rare film, Dogma or otherwise, that keeps you smiling long after the lights come up.
  9. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    It's the kind of romantic comedy that doesn't cheapen the word ''heartwarming.''
  10. Unlike Hollywood's starting point of hopelessly beautiful and yet inexplicably unentangled principal characters, Italian For Beginners'raw material is something of a more dirty-fingernail variety.
  11. 80
    A funny, relationship-driven ensemble piece that takes the chill out of the Danish winter with a snuggly blanket of humanism.
  12. As they stumble, bumble and fumble their way to love, they get more charming by the minute. Which makes them more interesting than Hollywood-style characters, anyway.
  13. 80
    It's all done without special effects, soaring strings or manufactured sentiment. Now, that's entertainment.
  14. 80
    With its ludicrous parallels and brisk, funny script (pardon my provincialism, but it sounds all the funnier in Danish), Italian for Beginners is full of larky charm while drawing its emotional vitality from urban loneliness.
  15. 80
    These melancholy Danes create something sweetly sexy, funny and touching.
  16. 75
    Has a generosity of spirit and a wonderfully upbeat ending that makes it a nice little antidote to a bleak season.
  17. 75
    The film only wants to amuse. It's a reminder that Dogma films need not involve pathetic characters tormented by the misuse of their genitalia, but can simply want to have a little fun.
  18. 75
    An engaging romantic comedy that would have been better if the audience wasn't constantly being distracted by mediocre video quality and jerky camera movements.
  19. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    This charming but slight tale has warmth, wit and interesting characters compassionately portrayed.
  20. 75
    Dogme films don't have to be bleak to be effective. They can be -- imagine! -- fun. Scherfig may have taken the discipline in an entirely new and welcome direction.
  21. Its low-key charm shows that Dogma filmmakers have yet to run out of ideas.
  22. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    The most nonconfrontational and thus accessible title in the Dogma lot to date, and will speak the international language of proletariat love to arthouse auds who go for such fare.
  23. 70
    Sweet-natured and likable to a fault, the film studiously avoids confronting the darker themes of death and religion that bubble up from its story, no matter how central they are to the characters' lives.
  24. Will be of interest for anyone seeking unconventional romantic stories as well as those curious about the development of the Dogme movement.
  25. Despite its hip, off-center style and pointed de-glamorization of its singles, the movie adds up to little more than feel-good fluff.
  26. To see this much austere vérité atmosphere propping up this much schlock romanticism is like biting into a blue-cheese canapé that turns out to be a fluffernutter.
  27. While the film shuns the glamour or glitz that an American movie might demand, Scherfig tosses us a romantic scenario that is just as simplistic as a Hollywood production.
  28. None of this is any more fun as it sounds -- the cancer ward scenes are truly disturbing -- but to be fair, writer/director Lone Scherfeg (the first woman to make a Dogme 95 film) manages some black-humored laughs.

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