Movie: Belle (2014)
Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Penelope Wilton, Sarah Gadon, Miranda Richardson, James Norton, Tom Felton, Sam Reid
Synopsis: Born in the West Indies, Dido Belle is the mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Officer. Her loving father takes her to England and places her in the care of his uncle, Lord Mansfield and his wife. Dido grows up under the loving care of the great uncle and aunt whom she comes to call “Papa” and “Mama”, and alongside the cousin, Lady Elizabeth Murray, whom she comes to regard as a sister. She is well educated and cared for, and the inheritance she receives from her father puts her in a good position financially. However her marital prospects are made questionable by her race. Even within her own home, social conventions often make her an outsider. She eventually encounters a man, James Ashford, who wishes to marry her. He claims to find her desirable “in spite of” her race. Or does he just find her inheritance desirable?
Meanwhile, the local vicar’s son, John Davinier, an aspiring lawyer is often present to learn from Lord Mansfield who is the Lord Chief Justice of England. Lord Mansfield is currently hearing the case of what came to be known as the Zong massacre, in which diseased slaves on a slave ship were thrown overboard and the owner filed with his insurance company for the losses. His decision will have a significant effect on the abolition of slavery in England. Lord Mansfield doesn’t encourage Dido to ask about his work, so she asks Davinier (a passionate abolitionist) about it instead. Davinier soon falls in love with Dido, but he knows that since he is not an aristocrat, Mansfield will consider a match with Dido to be beneath her.
My Thoughts: I found this film interesting on several levels. It was inspired by this painting of Dido Belle next to her cousin Elizabeth Murray in 1789. It was commissioned by Lord Mansfield and the painter is believed to be Johann Zoffany. Not much is known about Dido’s life, so a great deal of the film is fictionalized. Nonetheless I found it entertaining and thought provoking.
At one point, Elizabeth suggests to Dido that she is lucky that her marital prospects are limited by her race. Wealthy woman are encouraged to make socially and economically advantageous matches. Their property and money then goes to their husband. The law also bars the woman from any trade at which she might earn a living for herself. Therefore she is made into “property”. Fate has spared Dido being enslaved (though she is well aware that a different roll of the dice might have put her in a very different position) in the literal sense. But she could still be made someone’s property because she is desirable for her fortune (if like, James Ashford, he is able to “overlook” her race) . Yet Dido doesn’t like the prospect of being “an old maid”. She wants to share her life with others and have children. She puts the idea to Davinier who suggests that the way to retain the freedom that she so values, is to marry her equal; not necessarily her equal in fortune or social rank but someone who loves and respects her as an equal in all ways. Then she would not be property but rather a partner. But will the same social restrictions that make Dido an outsider even amongst her family allow her to find this kind of love?
Movie: Summer in February (2013)
Starring: Dan Stevens, Emily Browning, Dominic Cooper,
Synopsis: In the days before WWI, a bohemian artist colony called the Lamorna Group thrived in Cornwall. Pretty much everyone there agrees that Alfred Munnings (AJ) is a Genius. He is friends with the others in the community, especially Gilbert Evans. However AJ dominates each gathering, everyone knows he will make something of himself. When the lovely, aspiring young artist, Florence Carter-Wood arrives at the colony, AJ quickly makes her his protege and the model for his paintings. Gilbert soon falls in love with her. Florence is attracted to AJ’s tormented Genius (I use a capital “G” because it’s always said with the capitol letter implied!) but is also drawn to Gilbert’s kindness and decency. Eventually she makes her choice, setting in motion a chain of events that end in tragedy
My Thoughts: This film didn’t get very good reviews and I’m not sure why. It was well acted. The locations (it was filmed in Cornwall) were stunning and the story (based on actual events) held my interest. The primary criticism that most people had was that it was “dull”. I’d say that it’s a bit slow in the beginning. We need to get to know these characters in order to understand the stakes involved in their decisions (otherwise why should we care who Florence chooses?!) and that takes time. However once we come to care for Florence it’s pretty easy to see who she should be with and why she won’t choose him. Maybe that’s why some people objected? Because the “right” choice was fairly obvious? But sometimes in real life we do know what’s right for us and make the wrong choice anyway due to various factors.
Just a note to Downton Abbey fans; this is a good movie if you want to see Dan Stevens in a fairly Matthew Crawley-esque role (same time period, blue blooded character with a good heart..)
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-lLMwD7dXw (just a warning, the trailer is a bit spoilery)
Asked by sundayy-girl
Hi, thanks for the rec. I have seen that movie and I like it a lot! I featured it here a while back. I didn’t know that most of it was improvised though.. That’s interesting!
Also please do keep suggesting your faves to me. I’ve discovred some great movies that way!
Movie: Keeping the Faith (2000)
Starring: Edward Norton, Ben Stiller, Jenna Elfman, Eli Wallach, Anne Bancroft
Synopsis: Father Brian Finn knew from a young age that he was destined for the priesthood. Likewise, his best friend, Jake Schram knew that he was mean to be a rabbi. The two clergymen have remained friends over the years and are working on a jointly sponsored community center. As kids, their friendship also included Anna Reilly, a tough but fun girl, whose family moved away from New York City when they were kids. Eventually Brian and Jake lost touch with her.
Sixteen years later, the company that Anna works for has reassigned her to a New York position and she connects with her old friends. Anna is as vibrant as ever and the sparks fly between her and Jake and they begin a relationship. However, Jake is reluctant to go public with their romance because Anna is not Jewish and he worries that his relationship with his congregation would be compromised- not to mention the fact that his mother disowned his brother for marrying outside the faith!
Meanwhile Brian is undergoing his own test of faith. He’s attracted to Anna. He cares about her. But while Jewish rabbis can marry and have a family, the same is not true of Catholic priests! As the Interfaith Community Center comes closer to opening, both Brian and Jake need to confront their own issues with their faith and find out where their love for Anna fits into their lives and their friendship.
My Thoughts: A rabbi, A priest and a blonde walk into a bar….. Actually in this film it’s just the priest in the bar, but the premise does sound like the beginning of a joke. There are a lot of jokes in this film- it’s definitely a romantic comedy. But it’s also very different from a lot of Hollywood rom-coms. It asks how big of a role (if any) religion should have in romance. Both Brian and Jake love Anna. She loves them both in different ways: Brian as a friend and Jake as a lover and partner. Yet she’s also a threat to both of their faith for different reasons. She’s a threat to their careers as well as their friendship. She doesn’t want to be any of the above! Brian and Jake need to find out what their faith truly means to each of them. They also need to have faith; not only in a deity, bu also in each other and in Anna. Sometimes having faith in love and the in people we love, is the hardest thing to do.
Movie: Defending Your Life (1991)
Starring: Albert Brooks, Meryl Streep, Rip Torn, Lee Grant,
Synopsis: Daniel Miller is an LA advertising executive who’s had a pretty bad 40th birthday. In fact, it ended with him dying in a car accident. When Daniel wakes up he finds himself in “Judgement City”. It’s sort of a heavenly waiting room, were the recently deceased the the western United States have their time on earth judged to determine where they go next. While this is happening they’re free to enjoy all the amenities of Judgement City including all you can eat restaurants (no weight gain!), comedy clubs, bowling alleys and more. Daniel is told that on earth people use shockingly little of their brains (3%-5% on average) and because of that they spend a lot of time functioning on the basis of their fears. In Judgement City, Daniel will face a court that will try him to determine whether or not he has faced his fears. If he has he will more onto the next phase of existence, which is said to be much better. If he didn’t, his soul will be reincarnated on Earth where he will once again try to live a life not ruled by fear. He faces two judges, One who will argue for him and another who will argue against, using video-like footage from his life to back up their arguments.
While Daniel is spending his days in court, his nights are his own. One evening at a comedian’s performance, he meets Julia and they start to chat. It becomes obvious that Julia has lead a life of courage and generosity (she adopted two children as a single parent, she saved them both from a burning building and then went back inside to get their cat!). As their trials go on his relationship with Julia deepens and they fall in love. But it becomes clear that Daniel and Julia won’t be going to the same place- Daniel’s life was largely ruled by fear of failure. Julia seems to have moved past that. Daniel will be returning to Earth to be reincarnated and do it all again, while Julia will move onto the next phase of existence. That is, unless Daniel can find the courage within himself to risk a punishment, break the rules, and declare his love.
My Thoughts: I saw this movie with a friend several years ago and after we watched it we were talking about why Julia would love Daniel if her soul is so much more advanced than his. We arrived at the conclusion that it isn’t necessarily. In life Daniel was ruled by fear more than Julia, but is that really what’s in his soul? He makes her laugh. They talk for hours. He clearly has his heart in the right place but in life he was too afraid to take action and stand up for himself and what he believed. Would an evolved soul like Julia hold that against him? Probably not.
While I don’t know exactly what happens after we die, I doubt it’s a literal trial in a bureaucratic city where spare time is spent in resort like hotels. But I do like idea that a “successful” life is one that is not lived in fear. Because often fear keeps us from being out best selves; from standing up for what is right, and yes, from falling in love. But Daniel still has a chance to change things. He can still find the courage to love even if the relationships seems doomed. In fact that might be the only way he can spend an eternity with his beloved.
If you like this movie also check out Made in Heaven. (1987). It’s similar in that they’re both romantic comedies about lovers who meet in the afterlife.
Movie: Thousand Pieces of Gold (1991)
Starring: Rosalind Chao, Chris Cooper, Michael Paul Chen, Dennis Dun
Synopsis: Lalu and her family live in 19th century China. They are starving due to a three year drought. Desperate, Lalu’s father sells her to a marriage broker, who transports her and other girls to San Francisco. There, she is met by Jim, a Chinese “wife trader” who says that he will bring her to her new husband, Hong King, a merchant in an Idaho mining town. As they travel, Jim and Lalu strike up a friendship and he starts to teach her English. Lalu is left feeling even more betrayed when Jim abandons her in the isolated town, where she is not to be Hong King’s wife, as she was told, but rather the new prostitute in his saloon. She is renamed Polly, but she refuses to prostitute herself. Hong King is livid (he paid good money for her).
When the co-owner of the saloon, Charlie Bemis, a civil war veteran, learns that Lalu is being prostituted against her will, he is angry and says that buying Lalu under false pretenses, bringing her to town and trying to force her to work as a prostitute, is nothing less than slavery. With his help Hong King and Lalu work out a deal: Lalu will work as Hong King’s servant and saloon maid in order to repay the cost of her purchase. She can then buy her freedom at the near impossible price of a thousand pieces of gold.
Lalu is befriended by the local townspeople and works hard. As Charlie gets to know her, he falls in love with her strength and dignity. But when Hong King suffers financial problems, he decides to forget the deal and sell Lalu to the highest bidder. Charlie saves her by winning her in a game of poker. She goes to live with him but insists on a platonic relationship with separate sleeping quarters. Charlie respects her wishes.
Meanwhile the white residents of the town start to become resentful of the Chinese immigrants; who they think are getting all the mining jobs because they’ll work cheap. As Lalu works hard to earn enough money to return to China and her family, acts of bullying and assault escalate. When the Chinese are evicted from town Lalu has nearly reached her goal. But does she really want to leave Charlie behind?
My Thoughts: This film was based on a novel of the same name which was based on a true story. Though, as with most films, I’m sure that some license was taken with facts. You can read more about the real Lalu, who later came to be known as Polly Bemis here.
This movie touches on a lot of important issues ranging from misogyny to racism but I found myself most interested in the theme of slavery. Lalu is treated as property continuously in the film. She’s first sold by her father, then Jim sells her to Hong King who tries to sell her to the townspeople. The only way she avoids that is with a powerful ally (and a knife). Her bargain with Hong King brings her a kind of indentured servitude: she has to refund his initial purchase and then pay him an additional thousand pieces of gold in order to gain her freedom (which he never had any right to take in the first place!). When Charlie wins her, she is again turned to a prize rather than a person. When Charlie tells her she’s free, she is able to work for herself for the first time- to save the money that she earns for a return ticket to China. Charlie is clearly attracted to Lalu initially and over time, those feelings deepen into love. But he refuses to treat her as property the way that others have. He wants her to choose him of her own free will.
Unfortunately women being brought to this country and sold in prostitution is not something that is confined to a movie screen, nor is it something that ended in the 18th century. Lalu had a combination of intelligence, independence, and luck that helped her shape her own life. But so many women aren’t that fortunate.
This was clearly a low budget indie and there are a few moments when the lack of financial resources comes through onscreen. However things are held together by the strength of the performances, primarily Rosalind Chao as Lalu and a then unknown Chris Cooper as Charlie.
Sorry, this was the best quality trailer I could find.
Movie: Teddy Bear (2012)
Starring: Kim Kold, Lamaiporn Sangmanee Hougaard, Elsebeth Steentoft
Synopsis: Dennis is a 38 year old body builder. Despite his tough looking physique he is painfully shy and insecure.. He has never had a girlfriend and lives with his controlling and possessive mother, Ingrid in a small town outside of Copenhagen. When his uncle, Bent, gets married to a woman from Thailand, Bent suggests that perhaps Dennis’ best chances also lie in that direction. He arranges for Dennis to take a trip to Thailand.. Dennis tells his mother that he’s going to a body building competition in Germany.
In Thailand Dennis experiences some culture shock and feels alienated. He meets up with the man who introduced Bent to his wife, only to learn that this man is a pimp. The next morning Dennis is considering cutting his trip short. He stops by a local gym where he begins to discuss body building to a fellow patron. His shyness and social awkwardness vanish as he discusses his passion. He also meets Toi, the local woman who owns the gym. Once he overcomes his self consciousness, Dennis and Toi have a real connection. When Dennis returns to Denmark, it is with plans for Toi to come join him there shortly. But first Dennis must tell his mother about the changes he is making to his life…
My Thoughts: The Danish title of this film is 10 Hours To Paradise, but I think that Teddy Bear is a more apt title, because as strong as Dennis may be physically, that’s ultimately what he is. He’s a gentle giant, who needs to find the internal strength to overcome his social anxiety and stand up to his domineering mother in order to find the love he craves.
We do learn why Ingrid has felt the need to smother her son. Dennis sympathizes with her pain, but he also knows that her issues shouldn’t condemn him to a life of loneliness. But Ingrid herself isn’t really Dennis’ greatest obstacle to a life with Toi. Dennis’ fear of standing up to her (rooted in his fear of hurting her) is. This is a movie about a very strong man overcoming fear and weakness really.
It was based on a 2007 short film called Dennis made by the same director featuring the same actor. Since I haven’t seen that, I really can’t compare the long form to the short. But Teddy Bear is a quietly moving depiction of the courage it takes to love.
Movies: Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Starring: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams
Synopsis: In the summer of 1963 Ennis and Jack are hired to heard sheep in Wyoming. Eventually their relationship becomes intimate, both physically and emotionally. Their summer together is cut short and both go back to their regular lives. Ennis marries his fiancee Alma and has two daughters. Jack moves to Texas where he marries a woman named Lureen and has a son.
Four years after their summer together Jack and Ennis meet up again for a fishing trip. Jack express the desire to create a life with Ennis on a ranch somewhere. But Ennis is haunted by an act of homophobic violence he saw as a child. He is also not willing to leave his family. So Jack and Ennis continue to meet for their Brokeback Mountain fishing trips.
Meanwhile both of their marriages begin to deteriorate. When Ennis and Alma eventually divorce, Jack once again hopes that there’s a chance for them to build a life together. But Ennis refuses to move away from his children. So they continue with their fishing trips both wanting more for each other. But Ennis is too afraid to do anything more than want.
My Thoughts: I was almost reluctant to post this one because when it came out it was hailed everywhere as “the gay cowboy movie”. Then of course some controversy came up because the media was labeling Jack and Ennis as homosexual rather than bisexual (since they both have intimate relationships with women as well). and still others claiming that they were heterosexual save for this one relationship.
To me that’s not really relevant. Leaving all labels aside, I see it as a film about lovers who are unable to have a life together. It’s about the difficulty that arises when you try to love another person, without accepting yourself. Ennis loves Jack. That’s never in question at least for me. But Ennis also hates himself. He fears the prejudice that was prevalent in the US Southwest in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He’s never really able to overcome that fear so he keeps the love of his life “safe” in an isolated geographical location (Brokeback Mountain) and in his heart. Throughout the film he’s surrounded by open space, but he’s closed off; unable to give himself fully to his family because his heart lies with Jack, and unable to be with Jack because he’s afraid.
This film is visually stunning with a heartbreaking musical score as well. The performances are all excellent. Jake Gyllenhaal and Health Ledger make us believe in their character’s need for one another. At the same time Heath Ledger remains closed only letting deep feeling in when he believes no one can see. As their wives Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway show us the disappointment and bitterness that comes with sensing that they are not first in their husband’s hearts.
To me all of this is human emotion: disappointment, desire, love, fear etc. It exists independent of labels like heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. It’s sad that the media focused so much on these labels when the film came out. Yes questions of identity and sexuality are relevant. But I think those discussions came to be how people saw the film. That’s what’s unfortunate to me. Because there’s so much more to it than just that.
Asked by Anonymous
Thanks for the rec. For some reason I’ve always found it hard to warm up to that movie. Objectively speaking it’s well done, but my biggest problem was that I didn’t like Daisy so I couldn’t root for her and Benjamin. Therefore the romance didn’t work for me. Another thing that I objected to was that this whole movie hung on the conceit of this man aging backwards. Fair enough. But the overall message at the end seemed to be about life and love. The fact that Benjamin ages backwards doesn’t play into that ultimate takeaway idea. So it feels more like a gimmick than something essential to the plot. I also had more minor logistical quibbles. The way it was being told by an elderly Daisy to her daughter in flashback made me wonder about certain details and how things would have played out (even if she was grown and out of the house at the time, most kids would be somewhat aware that their mother adopted a baby!)
That said my opinion is in the minority on this one. I know a lot of hopeless romantics who love this movie. So I would tell followers to see it. At the very least you’ll see a visually beautiful film, filled with impressive performances, and if you’re like many people you will have an emotionally moving, cathartic experience. I just wasn’t in the latter group of people.
Thanks for the rec again though. Just because a movie isn’t a favorite for me personally doesn’t mean that the people who read this blog will share my opinion. So your suggestion could introduce a lot of hopeless romantics out there to a new favorite!
Feel free to share your opinion. Agree? Disagree?
Movie: The Butterfly Tattoo (2009)
Starring: Duncan Stuart, Jessica Blake,
Synopsis: Chris is a kid from Oxford in between high school and college. He works for a company that does lighting for fancy parties. At one such party, Chris sees a frightened girl running. She’s being sexually harassed by some neanderthal guys. Chris directs her to a nearby boathouse where she can hide out and then tells the guys who were bothering her that she went the other way. He goes to the boat house and finds that the girl has already left, leaving only her dress behind (presumably she changed into something else before she left!). Chris tracks her down via the dry cleaning tag in her dress, and returns it to her (and learns that her name is Jenny). She asks him out and they start seeing each other. They soon fall in love.
Chris tells Jenny that he really admires his boss, Barry, because he’s a “decent family man:” who Chris has recently learned is a former cop who left left the force after a criminal he busted got away. Barry worries about this guy finding him now. Jenny confides in Chris that she ran away from home because her father was abusive. Now she works in a cafe and shares an apartment with some loser guys. When these guys get arrested Jenny needs a new place to stay, and her boss starts putting the moves on her so she leaves her job. This leaves Chris worried and unable to find her. Meanwhile Jenny is having similar problems finding Chris, and Barry’s past has recently caught up with him. As they desperately try to connect, Chris and Jenny are caught in the crossfire.
My Thoughts: This is based on a novel by Phillip Pullman which I haven’t read. I can’t make any comparisons there except to wonder why the book’s alternate title was The White Mercedes (there is no white Mercedes in the film, so I doubt it was a huge plot point in the book…) A lot of reviewers compare this to “Romeo and Juliet” (check out my thoughts on the various film adaptations of that in my megapost from last year). I suppose the comparisons have some validity in that a young romance ends tragically due to mixed messages and miscommunication. And the film invites audiences to make parallels when Chris and Jenny attend a local production of “Romeo and Juliet” on a date. But the huge (IMO) key difference is that the love between Chris and Jenny is not forbidden. They don’t come from warring families/rival gangs/different races or religions. That let’s them take things a bit slower. Romeo and Juliet knew that they were in danger which caused them to rush things. Chris and Jenny think they have all the time in the world and they take things slower. There’s an attraction when they first meet but it doesn’t become love until later on. There’s no talk of marriage. The tragic ending isn’t a result of general hatred or prejudice but rather knowing people who aren’t the nicest, and having terrible luck and timing.
One thing that bothered me a bit is that Jenny is sexually harassed by several different men in the film, and it’s hinted that her father molested her. Sadly that’s probably not unrealistic. The people who target her are all people who (wrongly) think that they have some kind of power over her or that she owes them something. However Jenny is in general a cheerful, optimistic character. She believes that there are good people in the world. I couldn’t help but wonder if that was naive given her experiences. She’s very willing to trust Chris (who did help her out of a difficult situation when they met) and trust the people that Chris trusts. Perhaps that’s where she’s naive: assuming that Chris’ trust is never misplaced. But Chris is also naive in trusting people he shouldn’t.
Asked by jazzmuse
I have, actually I featured it on here quite a while ago. Check it out. Thanks for mentioning it. It gives people who are newer to the blog a chance to discover it. I found it really randomly on TV one day and was surprised by how good it was! And it’s different from so many other movies in the genre where you know exactly what’s going to happen from the opening credits!
Asked by Anonymous
No I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve heard of it and made a mental note of it at one point but I still haven’t gotten to it. But that’s for the rec! It’s nice to know that there’s good stuff out there waiting for me!
Asked by Anonymous
I’m glad you like, and I agree. Love is love. Gender doesn’t change that. I tend to feature more heterosexual romance films on here simply because there are more out there, but I think that it’s starting to change a bit with films like Blue is the Warmest Color, My Summer of Love Brokeback Mountain, and Imagine Me and You. LGBTQ stories are entering the mainstream which is awesome. Viewers are starting to realize that can relate even if they’re not LGBTQ because the emotions (love, attraction, fear, sadness, joy, anger, jealousy etc) are the same. I hope to feature more loves stories of all kinds on here.
Movie: Girl on a Bicycle (2013)
Starring: Vincenzo Amato, Nora Tschirner, Paddy Constantine, Louise Monot, Stephane Debac
Synopsis: Paolo is an Italian living in Paris where he drives a tour bus and explains to tourists why Italy is really better than France. He and his girlfriend, Greta (A German flight attendant living in Paris) have just gotten engaged. He’s happy.until one day he sees a beautiful woman riding a bicycle past his tour bus. Paolo loves Greta, but he can’t get this woman out of his head. So his friend, Derek (an English tour bus driving living in Paris) suggests that he talk to the girl on the bike the next time he sees her. That way she’ll stop being a mysterious, glamorous fantasy and just be a person. Paolo tries to do that. But instead of talking to the girl, he accidentally hits her with his bus. Oops!
At the hospital the woman’s medical information can only be released to her family so Paolo says that he’s her husband to find out if she’s OK. He learns her name is Cecile, and she has a broken arm and leg. She’ll heal but she’ll be out of commission for a few weeks. Then the nurse shows him into the hospital room. Where she tells a sleepy, doped up Cecile that her “husband” is here. Cecile doesn’t respond. But her two kids are thrilled to finally meet their father who they’ve been told was off fighting dragons for the past few years. Paolo doesn’t even know how to begin to explain things to a five year old and six year year old. So he lets them call him “Papa”.
Over the next few weeks he helps Cecile around the house, gets her kids off to school in the morning, picks them up in the afternoon, makes them dinner, puts them to bed and helps Cecile with basic tasks (it’s a good thing he got fired from his job when he hit Cecile with his bus, because taking care of her family is a full time job!). More than full time actually.
Greta begins to wonder why Paolo is away from home so often. Is he lying to her when he says he’s going jogging at 6am every morning? What about when he has to leave in the middle of the night to take care of his sick friend? Sensing Greta is upset, Paolo asks Derek to help out with Cecile’s family so he can spend more time with Greta. Which turns everyone’s lives upside down.
My Thoughts: This is a silly, fun, romantic comedy. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s got a very international feel. It’s set in France but the main characters are Italian, German, French, and British, and they all speak their native languages on occasion but mostly they speak in English which seems to be everyone’s common language (Derek even complains that living in Paris, he never gets the chance to practice his French!).
Some people have complained that the characters are stereotypes of their various nationalities: the French characters are sexy, the German is very organized and orderly etc. But as the film continues some of the comedy comes from the assumption that people are stereotypes when they’re not. For example, Greta’s friends warn her that Italian men are unfaithful. Which makes her suspicious and paranoid and informs her actions, which leads to comedy. Really I see this movie as mocking those national stereotypes more than affirming them.
Just a note that it was released in Germany under the title Love and Turbulence so depending on where you live you might find it as either title.