Upper class Americans Noel and Meg Johnson have a twenty-six year old daughter named Clara Johnson. Clara suffered a head injury as a child which resulted in her being mentally disabled. ... See full summary »
Upper class Americans Noel and Meg Johnson have a twenty-six year old daughter named Clara Johnson. Clara suffered a head injury as a child which resulted in her being mentally disabled. Clara's mental capacity is equivalent to that of a ten year old. In many social situations, Clara's disability can be passed off as a simple joy of life. The issue of Clara's care has placed a strain between Noel and Meg, the latter who clings to the hope that one day Clara can lead a "normal" life. While on an extended vacation through Italy, Meg and Clara meet a twenty-three year old Italian named Fabrizio Naccarelli in Florence. Fabrizio is instantly smitten with Clara, who returns the affection. Always protecting Clara, Meg initially resists Fabrizio's constant measures to insinuate himself into their lives. But as Meg learns more about Fabrizio and meets his family, Meg begins to believe a marriage between Fabrizio and Clara is Clara's chance for that normal life, all the while not telling the ... Written by
The Broadway production of the musical version of "The Light in the Piazza" opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York on April 18, 2005, ran for 504 performances and was nominated for the 2005 Tony Awards for the Best Musical and Book and won for Best Score. See more »
When Naccarelli Sr. takes Mrs. Johnson for a ride in the car, he keeps turning the wheel in both directions, as if there were many sharp turns on the road - yet the position of the car in relation to the camera angle hardly changes, as if the road were perfectly straight. Also, on more than one occasion during the drive he glances at Mrs. Johnson even as he is steering the wheel, i.e. at the exact same time (which, in real life, would have resulted in an inevitable accident). See more »
Nobody with a dream should come to Italy. No matter how dead and buried you think it is, in Italy, it will rise and walk again.
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Caught this one on Turner Classic, and for the longest time was stuck in a battle of the wills - turn it off and walk away, or allow inertia to force me to be on the couch through the whole thing. After all, I have better things to do with my time than watch George Hamilton attempt to play a young Italian lover. Inertia chalked up an embarrassing victory.
Inertia had help. This movie grew on me, because it danced the Hollywood formula for romance in front of me and then backed away from the pat and added a layer of depth to the situation. The story, in brief is as follows: DeHavilland and Mimieux are the mother and daughter from a monied American family (shares in a tobacco company) on an extended vacation in Italy. There is something wrong with the daughter. With a daughter who looks like Yvette Mimieux it is not long before a young Florentine, Hamilton, sees her and is smitten, and if you aren't familiar with who Yvette Mimieux is, suffice it to say that she was one of the most gorgeous and kittenish actresses of the early 1960's, all flaxen blonde hair, blue doe eyes and curves. To say her Clara character is a bit simple and sweet is an understatement. With his broken English, Hamilton's character does not detect anything is wrong and pursues the romance anyway, getting the concierge to tip him off as to where the mother and daughter will be going that day and just happening to show up uninvited, to Mimieux's delight and Dehavilland's growing consternation. The mother is conflicted - the boy wants to marry her daughter, but she can't let him (and his family) take her without knowing the truth.
This film is carried by DeHavilland's complex and powerful performance as a woman who has buried her hopes for her child only to see them being struck alight very much against her will. And in spite of numerous opportunities to do so, Epstein's script manages to hold off surrender to bathos, providing an interesting ending that left me surprised.
Not to say that this film had everything going for it. Casting George Hamilton as a young Italian can best be described as adventurous. Mimieux's Clara really does grow in Italy, but anyone familiar with her wide-eyed acting will know that she was an unlikely candidate to ever effectively portray a rocket scientist. Their pairing as the lovers had to have been concocted by the studio marketing department. Since the charisma supply on the lovers is not exactly overflowing the dike, DeHavilland's performance becomes even more important.
Some wonderful vistas are rendered of Florence, one of the world's loveliest cities. Coupled with DeHavilland's slow and patient explanations to the befuddled Mimieux of what they are looking at and how it is important, the film also provides a short travelogue of Florence that even an Englishman could follow.
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