“Toscana” is a romantic and tragic Danish film about a Danish chef who is dissatisfied with his life until he receives word that his father’s land in Tuscany, Italy, has been transferred to him. His mother, who lives with him, is his only relative. She, along with Theo’s partner, Merle, is the one who persuades him to return.
Theo Dahl is a two-Michelin-starred chef who runs a fine dining restaurant in Denmark with his partner, Merle. When it is stated in his will that the estate will be given to him, Pino, the lawyer, is obligated to carry out his wishes as stated in the will, even though Sophia, Pino’s fiancée, strongly opposes this decision. As the movie progresses, we find Theo returning to the estate to start a new legacy in his hometown of Italy, which reveals a warmer side of himself he has never known. Let us look at how he begins his search for his soul.
Major Spoilers Ahead
What does 2-Michelin-star Chef Theo Dahl do to redeem the Ristonchi Estate’s value?
Theo Dahl is a disgruntled Michelin-starred chef. He’s nervous and overly cautious among his other chefs, who stick to his word. They hold him in such high regard that even a simple two-word compliment is a major victory for them. His middle name is perfection, and he may be obsessive in his ways, much to the annoyance of those around him. While his partner, Merle, is attempting to persuade him to behave when an investor and his girlfriend come by, Theo receives word through a letter that his father has passed and that his estate has been handed to him.
Theo’s motivation stems from childhood emotions of abandonment. His quest for excellence is the one thing that has propelled him to where he is now. Theo does not want to be involved in the estate because he has a past he does not want to revisit. He shows his mum the letter. Merle and his mother are also great friends. His mother calmly advises him to return to the estate and see what has to be done. He speaks with Merle later and she advises him that after he lost an investor named Marcus owing to his rage, he should hire a lawyer and sell the estate.
Driven into a corner by his activities with the investor, Theo resolves to go back to the estate. On entering the town, he goes straight to the estate to attempt to contact Pino Conte, the lawyer who wrote the letter. In the meantime, he pauses for dinner at the estate’s restaurant. He is brought his meal but makes a huge deal about how the ice in the glass should not be there before the water is poured into it. This irritates the manager. Something changes when Theo’s card is taken by the manager.
Sophia, the manager, runs across an old buddy, but Theo fails to identify a long-ago crush on a young girl. When she finds out who he is, she tells him the food bill is on the house, but he is taken aback. When Theo meets with Pino, he expresses his desire to sell as quickly as possible. Pino assures him that he is aware of the cost and that such things take time. Theo agrees to stay to ensure that the sale goes smoothly.
After cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom, Theo meets with Sophia again, and she tells him he can’t just sell the estate without first determining how much it’s worth to the people who have lived there for so long. Theo disagrees with her and states that the establishment is barely able to survive. After everything she has done for the place, Sophia feels defeated. Theo wakes up to laughter the next morning. He notices the children playing with Sophia and enjoys the sound of joy. He goes down to greet her but first enquires about the preparations occurring on the estate.
She informs him that a marriage is taking place, being careful not to mention that it is her wedding to Pino. He walks into the kitchen to find a terrible menu being prepared. Sophia storms off after being told directly that this food must not be served. Uncomfortable and feeling defeated, she says she cannot afford anything else or even serve 50 people. While out hunting with the assistant chef, Theo learns that Sophia is marrying Pino. This surprises him because he also learns that Sophia has staked all of her money on the estate. The estate became her haven for tranquility and progress after she ran away from her parents.
Theo understands that his attitude toward her must change, and he begins to place himself in a position to assist her while maintaining his primary motivation for being there. As he discovers a photograph of them both holding hands as youngsters, he begins to build a bond with Sophia. Theo then experiences a flashback of Sophia as a child, when she reveals that they knew each other rather well as children.
They begin to become increasingly close. He decides to cook for her wedding. But he keeps quiet about meeting a buyer for the Ristonchi estate with whom he is poised to clinch a deal. It is simply based on the concept that the estate’s soul must be restored through the food and service provided at the wedding, and if the investor is satisfied, he will make a very expensive purchase.
He kisses Sophia one day before the wedding while completing dinner preparations, concealing his true intentions for the estate. She pulls back, but when he continues to apologize, she kisses him again. Theo wakes up the next morning to see Sophia dressed in her bridal gown. He approaches her, and she confronts him about the estate’s true purpose. When he discloses his genuine intentions, which could be her greatest nightmare, she slaps him. He tells her that he can’t stay and fail with her. Later at the wedding, she hesitantly says “I do” to marry Pino at the altar. Although the knife pierces Theo’s heart, he accepts it. Theo’s companion, Merle, arrives at the wedding and observes Sophia may have kissed Theo, sparking an affair. Food made by Theo is offered at the wedding dinner. After his buyer certifies that the food is fit for heaven, Theo decides to give a speech. It seems that when Theo is at his most vulnerable, he can sell his estate. When the sale is made, Theo must decide what to do with the money he has just received after delivering a somber toast to the bride and groom. One wonders whether his heart is in Denmark or in finding a new home on his recently sold estate.
‘Toscana’ Ending Explained: Does Sophia return to Theo?
Theo raises a sad toast to how difficult his life has been while inebriated, making no mention of his love for Sophia. When he arrives at the pool, he throws his legs in the water and then slumps in. Vincent, his Danish restaurant assistant chef, pulls him out of the pool and saves him. The next morning, he tries to find Sophia, but she has packed her belongings and departed with Pino.
After everything that has happened, Theo returns to Denmark. He is gentle in his approach toward his employees. When they cook with him on his estate and teach him the skills of Tuscan cooking, he grows to trust them. Things start to shift within Theo, and he enjoys the warmth he is experiencing. But, as this emotion develops stronger, Theo finds it difficult to accept the truth that he wants to return to the estate and that departing from it was the worst decision he ever made.
Merle turns to Theo for approval when the architect stands next to him, and his expression is almost like a boat drifting aimlessly out to sea. She recognizes that this does not sit well with him and advises him to follow his heart’s desires. He apologizes to Marcus and offers to make a deal with him. He gets some money by selling his house.
He then returns to the estate, where he discovers Pino conversing with the estate’s new owner. Pink attacks him when he sees him, and they have a terrible brawl. They tumble into the water as Theo continues to apologize to Pino for what has transpired. Pino yells at him, claiming that he trusted him and that Sophia had abandoned him. He is conflicted. But Theo remains focused and phones Marcus to inform the present owner of the estate that he will be paid twice as much as he paid for it the first time. The estate is returned to Theo after the current owner signs off.
Sophia returns in a car, driving by herself after Theo gets things up and running. She sees Theo and notices how he has transformed the estate. Theo recognizes that this is a fresh start for them. Sophia acknowledges her new beginning by informing him that she needed time to find herself. She wanted to travel during the summer holidays after enrolling in a degree program. She happily accepts Theo’s offer to become a hostess. When she returns to the estate, her second home, she gives Theo a bright smile.
Food, exotic locations, music, and tenderness in all its forms are all present in the film. You learn that Tuscany’s delicacy is something to savor in all of its forms, both visual and auditory. “Toscana” replicates the culture so well that the characters fit in, allowing us to relax in the current oppressive heat and let our minds roam on vacation with this film.
The story follows a chef as he tries to overcome the ghosts of his past as an adult with new responsibilities. He finds a way to incorporate everyone in the process of accepting the old and making it his own with the person he is learning to become. When you have people on your side, no obstacle appears insurmountable. His business partner is his best supporter, but it makes us wonder if we have that element in our life as well. If we don’t, we’ll have to find it quickly. A lovely film with a tempo that transports you to a vacation, making it a highly recommended must-see.
“Toscana” is a 2022 Drama Romance film directed by Mehdi Avaz.