Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. In a fine ensemble with many well-drawn smaller characters, Bleibtreu ("Run Lola Run", "The Baader-Meinhof Complex") as the hapless brother, Unel ("Head On") as the fussy chef and Bederke, as a waitress, all stand out.
  2. 70
    Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin isn't exactly known for slapstick, so Soul Kitchen has the feel of a palate cleanser. After the hard-edged drama of "Head-On" and "The Edge of Heaven," this boisterous comedy milling with scruffy misfits goes down more easily than an oyster on the half shell.
  3. 85
    This is a picture whose dance steps are determined by any number of mishaps and misfortunes; like the dance floor of a great club on a good night, it's gorgeous, unruly and exhilarating all at once.
  4. The funky, enjoyable Hamburg-set comedy Soul Kitchen is a celebration of co-writer-director Fatih Akin's home base, a spacious, moody city of apparently limitless industrial warehouse space - like Chicago.
  5. This new picture is mainly in the spirit of fun, a loose, generally good-natured comedy with screwball overtones.
  6. 75
    This is a party, and you're either having a good time or wondering when Akin is going to get down to business. But for an hour and a half, fun is the business.
  7. 63
    The only reason Soul Kitchen is being marketed as an "art film" in the United States is because it is subtitled. On merit, this is as mainstream as one can imagine - a generic, feel-good plot that's fit for a sit-com. Call it My Big Fat Greek Restaurant.
  8. 50
    There are moments of fun (an aphrodisiac-laced dessert, for example), but generally the humor seems warmed-over.
  9. His (Fatih Akin) new movie, an occasionally shouty comedy, is easily his most fun.
  10. 67
    There's a breeziness to Soul Kitchen, good performances by Moritz Bleibtreu as Zinos' slippery brother and Birol Unel as his fanatical new chef, and a peppy soundtrack.
  11. Its insistent zaniness makes Soul Kitchen very different in spirit from Mr. Akin's two previous films, "Head-On" and "The Edge of Heaven," which established him as a major European filmmaker. Seriously silly, it evokes the same high-spirited, pan-European multiculturalism in which people of all ages and backgrounds blithely traverse national borders as they aggressively pursue their destinies.
  12. 90
    Akin perfectly captures the antic pace, eccentric personalities, and fickle fortunes of the restaurant game, and his vision of the Soul Kitchen as an all-night bacchanal is irresistible.
  13. There's no denying that Soul Kitchen is a film that delights in contrivance and improbability, but it does so with such a big-hearted sense of fun that it is hard not to be swept away.
  14. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Soul Kitchen is sprawling, undisciplined, raucous, occasionally crass-and so full of life you forgive it everything.
  15. Who knew this German-born Turkish filmmaker could perpetrate a delirious farce-in German and Greek with good English subtitles-that doesn't flag for a single one of its 99 minutes?
  16. 80
    Not to warm to this movie would be churlish, and foodies will drool on demand.
  17. 70
    Since the filmmaker's main agenda here is to keep things bumping along, the fraught situations are happily played and funk-scored as crowd-pleasing rather than issue-stroking.
  18. 83
    Soul Kitchen plays everything big and loud-and sometimes too doggedly conventional-but it's the rare example of a crowd-pleaser made without cynicism or calculation.
  19. The humor is broad, the jokes not of the first freshness, and the cast, especially Bousdoukus, is hammy. And, for the record, the upscale menu, which is supposed to be scrumptious, doesn't look as tasty as the downscale one.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Dec 10, 2010
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. "Soul Kitchen" takes its name from a Doors song that appeared on the Jim Morrison-led band's debut album in 1967. It's also the name of a "restaurant"(greasy spoon is more like it) whose owner Zinos Kazantsakis(Adam Bousodoulos), the proverbial man in a rut, shows no outward sign of awareness concerning the name appropriation, but given that the movie is about opening doors to bigger and better things, there's a good chance that the filmmaker is cognizant of the wildly popular late-sixties American band. As his track record shows, the guy loves music; in the process, giving a shout-out to Matt Johnson of The The("Slow Emotion Replay" is referred to) in his second film "Head-On"(2004), which in itself, just so happens to be the title of a Jesus & Mary Chain rocker(subsequently covered by The Pixies). Catering to a clientele who subsists on nothing but low-quality fare(practically everything at Soul Kitchen is re-heated and oily), comfort food for the German working class, the first door that opens for Zinos is food-related, when the diner in Wilhelmsburg(the industrial part of Hamburg) undergoes a revamping of their menu(switching from fast food to haute cuisine items), as the result of a fortuitous meeting with a hot-headed chef named Shayne(Birol Unel), who the restaurateur sees getting fired after the gourmet cook chastises a paying customer for requesting that his cold tomato soup("gazpacho") be heated. Akin(pun intended) to Bob Dylan's performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, where the Woody Guthrie devotee angered his base by rocking out with juice running through his guitar, Shayne too enacts the role of a confrontational artist when he refuses to give the patrons their pizzas, hamburgers, and other artery-clogging edibles, but instead, alienates them with food that's louder, bolder, and new. Just before Dylan and his band tore up the joint with a torrid rendition of "Like a Rolling Stone", somebody from the audience yells, "Judas!" and likewise, that's the name on the tips of the tongues belonging to all the "culinary racists" and "uncultured peasants" who think that Zinos went bourgeoisie on them. He takes Soul Kitchen in a new direction(a club, which incidentally, features live rock music) and becomes more popular than ever. The second door that opens for Zinos is love-related, in which the proprietor makes the monumental decision to follow his girlfriend to Shanghai, and during the interim before his departure to the Far East, he hunts for a permanent replacement, settling on Ilias(Moritz Bleibreur), the wayward brother who just got out of jail, by default, only after the waitress turns his offer of management down. This second door, however, starts to swing the other way, slowly but surely, before it eventually slams shut on his face. At the airport, Zinos stumbles upon his China girl from a moving walkway(the walkway being vaguely reminiscent of the opening scene in Mike Nichols' "The Graduate"), who is back in Germany for her grandmother's funeral. The watershed 1967(same release year as The Doors song) film that made Dustin Hoffman famous worldwide echoes more strongly in a forthcoming scene where Zinos crashes, then disrupts a funeral(as opposed to a wedding) after he sees Nadine's companion grab her hand while the priest presides over the burial. Whereas Benjamin Braddock and Elaine Robinson(Katherine Ross) end up on a bus to nowhere, Nadine knows where she's going, while Linos will continue to ride the same Hamburg subway cars, the same Hamburg buses. Like the youthful twenty-something young man portrayed so effortlessly by Hoffman, Zinos feels the same disaffection and frustration, but he's much older than the graduate, and yet he lives a bohemian existence, surrounding himself with ex-convicts, artists, and squatters, as if the twenty-first century was an extension of the sixties. Since he made Soul Kitchen, maybe he's Jim, a version of Jim that lights a fire in his kitchen sink and almost burns the apartment house down. "Soul Kitchen" is about doors. They open. They close. Full Review »
  2. Feb 13, 2012
    It's a bliss to behold that Fatih Akin could return to a IN JULY (2000) route to prepare us for a comedic ratatouille after his tremendouslyIt's a bliss to behold that Fatih Akin could return to a IN JULY (2000) route to prepare us for a comedic ratatouille after his tremendously nerve-pressing films HEAD-ON (2004) and THE EDGE OF HEAVEN (2007), prominently known as the fresh blood of the new German film industry, Fatih is definitely honing his prowess with multi-genre attempts, though we are still not clear his next feature project (only a documentary called GARBAGE IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN is billed under his director helm from IMDB, another genre breakthrough is expected). SOUL KITCHEN connects intimately with a lavish hue of aesthetics with a down-to-earth register aiming towards modern-day generation, for the likes of a desolate factory-reconstructed-restaurant serving as a default location and night disco dizziness as such. The tempo of the story-unfolding is rapid with fairly abundant of gags and the characterization of different roles is smoothly undergoing without too much mind-absence or self-conscious uneasiness. The story has never been out of its predictable safe zone, but is helped out by an intriguing visual plentifulness. Alongside Fatih, the film is co-scripted by Adam Boysdoukos, who is also the leading actor here. While the acting at large is lukewarm, funny but no amazing bravura, the sole recommendable saving grace is Fatih's old mate Birol à Full Review »