In 1935 a group of elderly British women, whom the Italians have named the Scorpioni, have chosen Italy, specifically Florence, as a place to live to blend their proper British sensibilities with their love of Italian art and culture. One of those Scorpioni, Mary Walsh, works as the English secretary for Paolo Innocente, who, in part because of his own wife's adamant refusal, largely neglects his illegitimate adolescent son, Luca, despite Paolo's want for Luca to grow up to be a proper young man, much like the English. Luca has lived in an orphanage since his dressmaker mother's death, death a concept that Luca does not yet understand. As such, he often runs away looking for his mother. On a mutual agreement between Paolo and Mary, Mary becomes Luca's guardian, she who will receive help in raising Luca by her fellow Scorpioni and financial help from Paolo as needed. Associated with the Scorpioni is a brash younger nouveau riche Jewish-American woman named Elsa Morgenthal, who, because... Written by
Thirty years earlier, Maggie Smith starred in The Prime of Miss Jeam Brodie (1969), as another misguided woman who worshiped Mussolini. See more »
The breaking news radio announcement reporting the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor also included information about President Roosevelt's speech the next day and the subsequent US declaration of war against Germany, Japan, and Italy. In effect it was a summary of two days' events and wouldn't be a breaking news announcement. See more »
The love affair between the artistically-inclined English community and Florence was soon to be overshadowed by the clouds of war.
But at the moment the sun is still shining on the squares and statues, and the dictator Mussolini is the gentleman who makes the trains run on time.
Excuse me, are you the Consul?
Connie Raynor of the Morning Post. I'm fascinated to know what His Majesty's Consul in Florence makes of it all?
I can't believe your readers would be ...
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This film could have been titled 'four crazy grannies' for the marvelous portrayal of little old ladies, each more eccentric than the next. Like the comedy team of Matthau and Lemon, Dench, Smith and Plowright have a chemistry that is explosive.
Maggie Smith played a role that she has spent a lifetime perfecting. She captivates us as a snobbish dowager, tantalizes us with her improbable tea party and brings us to tears when she demonstrates her capacity to grow.
Although she may not have wowed us with her Shakespeare, Joan Plowright's compassion for her sudden charge made me wish (that at age 32) she would adopt me. Her love of the classics, remind us that art, literature and friends can help us transcend life's constant miseries.
Cher demonstrated that she could act in any time period. While Dame Judi Dench (not allowing herself to be typecast as a Queen) portrays a particularly pitiful creature as an aging artist with more passion than talent.
This film sends a clear message to Hollywood: experience and talent win out over T&A.
Applause at the end of this movie is to be expected.
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