TUESDAY CLUB

Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Annika Appelin

Stars: Marie Richardson, Peter Stormare, Carina M Johansson, Sussie Ericsson, Ida Engvoll, Bjorn Kjellman.

From Sweden comes this formulaic but feel-good film about food, family, friendship, second chances and finding love and happiness late in life.  

Karin (Marie Richardson, from Eyes Wide Shut, etc) is a woman in her 60s who is celebrating her fortieth wedding anniversary to Sten (Bjorn Kjellman) when she learns that he has been unfaithful. She confronts Sten with the evidence of his infidelity which leads him to suffer a horrible accident, leaving him bedridden in hospital and unable to walk again. While Sten is recovering in hospital Karin joins her two best friends Pia (Sussie Ericsson) and Monika (Carina M Johansson) in enrolling in a weekly cooking class conducted by celebrity chef Henrik (Peter Stormare, from Fargo, etc). Karin had once dreamed of becoming a chef, but marriage and family got in the way. She hopes that these classes, held every Tuesday night, might reignite her passion.  

But she finds that Henrik is arrogant and demanding, and a hard taskmaster extremely critical of the group’s efforts. But something clicks between her and Henrik and, as sparks fly between them, they are drawn together. Determined to change her life and take charge of her own future, Karin and her friends decide that they are going to start their own catering business.  

Meanwhile Karin’s daughter Fredrika (Ida Engvoll), who operates a horse-riding school, is about to turn forty and is freaking out about reaching this milestone. Initially adamant about not having a party to celebrate, she changes her mind. The party which has a country and western theme and is held in the stables of her riding school, becomes the catalyst for some cathartic moments, revelations and ultimately change.  

Tuesday Club is the debut feature for director Annika Appelin and she is working from a script by Anna Fredericksen, who also wrote the novel upon which the film is based. The film is a little predictable and ticks most of the boxes of the romantic comedy genre, but it is still enjoyable enough. The soundtrack is well used with appropriate song choices that support the drama.  

Performances all round are quite good. Cast somewhat against type as a romantic lead here, Stormare is good as Henrik and charts his character’s growth from surly and unpleasant to emotionally vulnerable and warm, while Richardson is strong and brings subtle nuances to her performance as the confident Karin who has sacrificed her own dreams to support her family. Engvoll’s performance as the selfish Fredrika is a little too broad and her character initially grates. The cooking class comprises a number of eccentric and colourful secondary characters who add spice to the mix.  

Cinematographer Andreas Wessberg has shot the film in a predominantly bright palette and some beautiful scenery of the cityscapes. And there are lots of close-up shots of exotic dishes being prepared, so it is probably best not to see the film on an empty stomach. 

★★★

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