Leonor, a widow in a small South American town, gives birth to Charlotte, a dwarf. The mother not only provides a rich childhood for her daughter, she erases any clues her daughter might ... See full summary »
Leonor, a widow in a small South American town, gives birth to Charlotte, a dwarf. The mother not only provides a rich childhood for her daughter, she erases any clues her daughter might see that would lead her to think she is different (mother burns books such as "Snow White" and destroys lawn statues of gnomes). In short, she doesn't want to talk about it. The mother succeeds in creating a modern-day Rapunzel: Charlotte becomes an accomplished young woman who captures the heart of Ludovico. But then, the circus comes to town. Written by
A sweet, funny, odd, almost fairy tale of a film, with darker, tragic overtones. A mother reacts to the fact that her daughter is a dwarf by just refusing to deal with it herself, and forcing the town to ignore it, (as indeed they ignore all unpleasant truths), turning her into an educated, artistic fascinating young lady. Meanwhile an older playboy in town, suddenly falls for the young dwarf, seeing in her the woman that will finally make him happy. There are a few emotional and logic leaps here, and some parts drag, and some jokes (the senile, incomprehensible mayor) get old. But Marcello Mastroianni is so wonderful and human as the elder man trying to court this young girl that he makes up for a number of shaky moments. If the other leads had been up to his level, this could have been a much deeper film. But for me, Alexandra Poedsta who plays Charlotte, the little daughter, simply doesn't have the charisma or ease to make the love story really work. She has a slight uncomfortable awkwardness in front of the camera, that kept me always aware she was acting, and thus made it hard for me to fall in love with her along with Marcello. But it does get points, as Time Out puts it, for being a tender subtle movie that never romanticizes itself. It's certainly a unique, one-of-a-kind film, and we have far too few of those.
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