Critic Reviews



Based on 26 critic reviews provided by
It's warm, spontaneous and heartfelt. Zeffirelli cared about his memories, and he's done justice to them.
An incomplete memoir with spotty character development, but, in part because of the way it was filmed and in part because of the strength of the cast, it's still an effective entertainment.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Zeffirelli creates a lovely, perfectly composed and lyrical look at life under Mussolini's black-shirted fascist regime. But despite danger on every corner in Italy, there is a tinge of rose-colored sentiment that blurs the events yet lends to the making of an affecting dramatic period piece.
Chicago Sun-Times
The movie seemed the stuff of anecdote, not drama, and as the alleged protagonist, Luca/Franco is too young much of the time to play more than a bystander's role.
USA Today
The movie is so aggressively ingratiating that it's probably not to be fully trusted, yet it works suprisingly well on its own limited terms[14 May 1999, p. 8E]
Cher is an inspired bit of casting, while the talented Dench is underused. Smith seems to be going through the motions as the fatuous and deluded aristocrat, while Tomlin has a ball as Georgie. But what really stays with you is the work by Plowright - she is a beacon of good sense (both as actor and character) and plucky as you please.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
The most sentimental Italian movie about surviving the war since "Life is Beautiful."
Zeffirelli's mawkish tendencies are checked by Mortimer's funny, richly observant screenplay; it's rose-tinted but plays up character and everyday detail rather than wallowing in war-movie villainy.
And while the divas make their characters hugely entertaining, they're also such high profile actresses in such a soft-edged film that it's hard to actually worry about what's to become of them.
Entertainment Weekly
The film values quips and declamations over natural conversation (or an explanation of how such intelligent women could have been so blind to world events).
Franco Zeffirelli's contrived autobiographical film about his youth in fascist Italy has little social grace -- it's embarrassingly awkward, like a dilettante playing the doyenne.

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