===Story=== Not your usual lighthearted romance, Lone Sherfig's heartwarming comedy warms the usually chilly Dogme 95 world of prickly eccentrics and damaged souls with a glowing sense of hope and passion. A belligerent restaurant manager, a repressed hotelier, a lonely hairdresser, and a clumsy, childlike bakery clerk are among the lonely thirtysomethings who escape the social disasters and comic chaos of their unfulfilled lives in an Italian-language evening course. It becomes a place to dream and to heal emotional wounds (and they have more than their fair share of scars). Sherfig manages to turn the familiar social landscape of films as ''The Celebration'' and ''The King Is Alive''--fractured families, abusive parents, tragic pasts--into a backdrop for romantic comedy. If not exactly profound, ''Italian for Beginners'' remains a sweet, hopeful, and affirming tale of eccentrics who find friendship, family, and romance while learning the language of love. ''--Sean Axmaker''
|Anders W. Berthelsen|