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Superficial people are revealed and drastically changed by circumstance or luck in this a tale of death, seduction, blackmail and theft among British and Americans in Florence in the turbulent days just before World War II. Written by
Cameo: Mel Brooks in train station scene at end of film; holding hands of 2 little girls and running. See more »
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More enjoyable than some reviewers would have you believe
I was intrigued when this film showed up on the day's TV roster and even more intrigued when I found out who the cast are and read a quick synopsis of the story. Most of the reviewers here, at IMDB, have made the movie sound dreadful. I found it hard to believe that anything with Sean Penn and Kristin Scott Thomas would be awful and had to check out the film for myself. My conclusion -- it is quite good, engaging, and definitely worth watching.
The lead actors as well as most of the supporting cast are rather wonderful. Though, I wish that someone slightly more dashing and not so limp played the role of the Austrian student, even if the stumbling manner and sudden onset of neurosis are required of the part. The scenery is inviting; the sets are great; the variety of accents is interesting; some of the extras are a bit shaky. The film is not so much about the setting, the era, or the social/political/economic spheres, though all of these have a firm bearing on the events and characters. It is chiefly about human actions under pressure of circumstances, about relationships, flights of fancy, slip-ups, weaknesses, trust and emotional maneuvering. "Up at the Villa" addresses these topics as good as any other period film.
I recommend this movie to those who, like I, enjoyed more than one of the following:
The Talented Mr. Ripley
The Wings of the Dove
A Room with a View
The Remains of the Day
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