Kitchen Stories


Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33

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Critic Reviews

  1. There's nothing casual about the way this film has been put together, yet that painstaking care leads to laughter that is completely unrestrained.
  2. Features an absurdist sensibility that ultimately melts your heart. It's certainly one of the stranger movies you'll see.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    In the end, it's not the answer to the kitchen mystery that matters but the revelation that there's ultimately no difference between this bachelor scientist and his bachelor subject.
  4. Serves to champion human irrepressibility and unpredictability. It's the flip side to the defeatism of "Distant," but with parallels, both in the very deliberate pacing and moments of visual wit.
  5. 83
    It's a film that triumphs in small ways and satisfyingly demonstrates how our human nature is based on both the eccentricity of our hearts and the quirky workings of our heads.
  6. 80
    Like all good films, it raises these types of questions, answering some, and leaving some for you to answer yourself.
  7. In the wonderfully droll Kitchen Stories, Norwegian filmmaker Bent Hamer takes an already inspired premise and weaves it into a spry absurdist comedy that also manages to find some considerable warmth.
  8. The film is saying that, left to their own devices, all men would devolve into a morass of monastic grouches. Kitchen Stories is a prime piece of comic anthropology.
  9. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Hamer, a meticulous observer himself, is a minimalist with heart.
  10. 80
    In the landscape of contemporary movie comedies, Kitchen Stories is like a rejuvenating blast of crisp Nordic air.
  11. 80
    His painstakingly coordinated scenes and exquisitely timed takes are the filmmaking equivalent of wringing every single use from a paper towel and then folding it before disposal.
  12. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Some comedies make you laugh out loud. This one makes you smile inwardly, but often.
  13. Settle into your seat for an enjoyable movie.
  14. May, at times, be deadpan to the point of stiffness, but it's far from dead.
  15. Folke and Isak have nowhere near the dimensions of the pair in "Waiting for Godot" or in "Endgame," but on his level, Hamer follows Beckett's belief that, especially in an odd situation, two can make a multitude.
  16. 80
    If you're in the mood for a quiet, beautifully acted little drama, liberally spiked with comedy, about the universal desires of the human heart, this may be the obscure gem you're looking for.
  17. Acted and directed with a savvy understatement that perfectly matches the eccentric story.
  18. 75
    Mostly a well-acted, expertly directed comedy with characters and situations of truly universal appeal.
  19. The film pays off eventually with a lovely story of friendship between two lonely men.
  20. 75
    It's a simple story told well, with plenty of lighthearted moments and kernels of thought-provoking material, but little to really excite the cinematic appetite.
  21. The movie's gentle humor and offbeat whimsy prove that humanity trumps bureaucratic foolishness, in Norway or anywhere else.
  22. It's hilarious - in a Scandinavian Sartre-esque sort of way.
  23. 75
    The film's concept is so absurd and Hamer goes about developing it with such a regimented structure that you have to believe that the filmmaker is poking fun at himself and the world he knows well.
  24. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    What a pleasure it is not to be hectored by a director as we laugh our own little laughs, watching a profound story unfold.
  25. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    The film appears consistently poised to go deeper but instead hangs back, making it less substantial than it might have been. Yet the sweet-natured story's gentle humor and poignancy should draw appreciative audiences.
  26. 70
    Seems too subtle at times and too obvious at others, but Hamer strings together pieces of conversation and layers of voyeurism (everybody in the movie is watching somebody) into a moving study of the perils of presumption.
  27. 70
    Hamer perfectly captures that post-WWII spirit of better living through science by positioning streamlined Swedish cars and hump-backed trailers against the timeless Norwegian landscape.
  28. The humor is a bit dry for my taste, but director Bent Hamer and his actors know what they're doing every step of the way.
  29. The icy whimsy of Kitchen Stories is certainly well sustained, but you don't laugh at the movie so much as wait for the joke to thaw.
  30. An enjoyable study of ridiculous regimentation and a sure balm to anyone who has overdosed on the efficient designs at Ikea.
  31. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    If you've ever staggered out of IKEA oppressed by the clean, inhuman lines of a thousand affordable dinette sets, you may get a kick out of Bent Hamer's comedy Kitchen Stories.
  32. 63
    By the end, Hamer's crisp, prickly compositions go soft.
  33. 60
    Slight but sardonic, Norwegian director Bent Hamer's deadpan Kitchen Stories makes a taciturn comedy of nothingness out of color-coordinated '50s coziness and Scandinavian social planning.

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