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Italian kisses

Few films in recent memory so successfully combine feel-good romance with hand-held realism.

In a drab Danish suburb the tedious and sometimes painful lives of a group of people are changed by what happens at the beginners’ Italian class at the community centre. A pastor, a hairdresser, a bad-tempered restaurant manager, his pal and a clutch of women are all facing the loss of something important in their lives.

Director Lone Scherfig weaves an unashamedly warm, fuzzy blanket for them all, healing, helping and making both us and them laugh until the happiness returns. That his film never once comes close to Hollywood schmaltz is thanks to the adroit nature of the script and the honesty of the characters. They’re finely drawn, beautifully acted and immediately identifiable. Funny, grown-up and outrageously charming, this movie is one I challenge anybody to emerge from not grinning from ear to ear.

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