© Majestic/Twentieth Century Fox

Germany 2012

Opening 1 Nov 2012

Directed by: Tomy Wigand
Writing credits: Jane Ainscough, Gabriela Sperl, Claudia Casagrande
Principal actors: Marianne Sägebrecht, Annette Frier, Miriam Stein, Giancarlo Giannini, Raz Degan

Omamamia is one of those rare films that captivate, entertains, is tip-top in production values, and so excellently cast (Suse Marquardt / Germany, Francesco Vedovati / Italy) you hate to see it end. The story revolves around three strong women – their secrets, their men, their personal development: Oma (grandma), her daughter and granddaughter. The culmination of a comedic journey from Ontario, Canada to Rome, Italy is this insight: “we’re a family, and we’ll remain a family”.

Marianne Sägebrecht as Oma Marguerita naturally captures our hearts and imagination: with every scruple she releases, her aura intensifies. It is one thing for her daughter to move her off the prairie into the city, but when Oma learns her final destination is a Seniors Home, she bolts. First, she will see the pope. Annette Frier as Marie, Marguerita’s daughter, personifies someone who has lost sight of how fulfilling her life is. Marie’s main preoccupation is worrying; so absorbed is she, her patiently adoring husband Joe, charmingly played by Paul Barrett, sends her to Rome with a reminder, “think about us, not your mother”. Miriam Stein emanates a free spirit infused with consciousness and kindness as Martina, their daughter living in Rome. Marie’s consternation at not reaching Martina, an au pair to a Catholic family, to warn about Oma’s imminent arrival is minor compared to Martina’s shock when Oma lands on her doorstep, and, Raz Degan as her dashing rock star boyfriend Silvio, answers in the nude. Giancarlo Giannini (Lorenzo) and Giovanni Esposito (Dino) play a father and son who, overwhelmed and dealing with an imminent, inevitable loss, unintentionally hook up with Oma during her quest for a restaurant serving robust Bavarian food.

Tomy Wigand directs, with a screenplay from Jane Ainscough and Gabriela Sperl based on an idea from Claudia Casagrande. Holly Fink is behind the camera, Frank Heidbrink sound, Martin Todsharow music, and Simon Blasi editing: in concert they, and crew, deliver this tightly executed, delightful tour de force. Following a television hiatus, Marianne Sägebrecht (Baghdad Café) is thankfully on the big screen again. The witty incidents are memorable: Marie’s twins collaborating with Oma, Oma pepper-spraying Pope Benedict, the tattoo, the ubiquitous cabbie, and cooking for the pope – “…thank goodness there’s no pepper in the Kaiserschmarrn,” and more. Speaking easy-to-understand vernacular German flavored with English words and phrases, Omamamia pays homage to family, aging, parenting, partnering, truthfulness, forgiveness, faithfulness, faith, self-worth, and, the depth of love. “Here in Italy many of us are Catholic, but everybody makes amore.” Treat yourselves, and see this movie. (Marinell Haegelin)

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