6.9/10
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Tea with Mussolini (1999)

PG | | Drama, Comedy, War | 14 May 1999 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »

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Writers:

, (autobiography)

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Baird Wallace ...
Luca
Charlie Lucas ...
Luca (Child)
Massimo Ghini ...
Paolo
...
Vittorio Fanfanni
Claudio Spadaro ...
Mino Bellei ...
Cesare
Paul Chequer ...
Wilfred Random, aka Miss Lucy
Tessa Pritchard ...
Connie Raynor
Michael Williams ...
British Consul
Paula Jacobs ...
Molly
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A story of civilized disobedience

Genres:

Drama | Comedy | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, language, brief nudity and some mild violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 May 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chá com Mussolini  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£123,788 (UK) (2 April 1999)

Gross:

$14,348,123 (USA) (22 October 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The combat scenes late in the picture are clips from A Bridge Too Far (1977). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: Florence 1935.
Title Card: The love affair between the artistically-inclined English community and Florence was soon to be overshadowed by the clouds of war.
Title Card: 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.
Connie Raynor: Excuse me, are you the Consul?
British Consul: Yes.
Connie Raynor: Connie Raynor of the Morning Post. I'm fascinated to know what His Majesty's Consul in Florence makes of it all?
British Consul: I can't believe your readers would be ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Moonlight Magic
Written & Performed by Alan Moorhouse
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User Reviews

Charming period drama, beautifully played.
2 May 2002 | by (Sandbach, Cheshire, England) – See all my reviews

I had wanted to see this film for some time and when the opportunity finally materialised I was enthralled. It is probably the best performance I have seen by Maggie Smith, who often seems to be playing the same character actually. But this is her best since Miss Jean Brodie, and Joan Plowright, Judi Dench, Lily Tomlin and Cher are all equally impressive.

The settings are skilfully designed to draw the viewer in, and when you are setting your movie in Florence and its environs you can't go wrong anyway. The ongoing clash between two worlds i.e. Lady Hester Random (Maggie Smith) versus Elsa (Cher) reaches a satisfying resolution which it would be unfair to reveal.

There are splendid comic vignettes mixed into the overall drama. Judi Dench and her dog being thrown out of the cathedral, sharply contrasts with the chilling moment when the Jewish arts professor is taken away by the Gestapo. Understated but none the less effective, probably more so, because of it.

If you haven't seen this film, see it as soon as you can.


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