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 ...
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Kristin Scott Thomas,
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 »
When Anne Bancroft's character is reclining in the chaise lounge, the level of her drink goes from nearly full to nearly empty and back to nearly full in different shots while she is drinking it. See more »
I was stunned by Kristin Scott Thomas when I first saw her in The Tenth Man (co-starring with Derek Jacobi in that movie too) many years ago. I've tried to catch as many movies with her as possible since then, but she's just never been as good, not even in The English Patient. Much of her material has been extremely dull, incl. Random Hearts and yes, this one, Up At the Villa. The premise of this movie isn't bad, but for some reason it fails to create that engrossing magic that makes all the difference. Kristin's character is too timid and irrational (except for in the end). Jeremy Davies as the poor refugee is not exactly bad, but there's still something totally wrong with his role.
Bancroft is flawless, but can't save the movie. Sean Penn is actually good. I don't like most of his roles in other movies - never have -, but he played a different, more complex and realistic yet rogue-ish character here than the hysterical ones he usually embraces (for God knows what reason), and I thought this actually worked. Still, his and Kristin's characters were just too different to make their romantic tension really believable.
I will give the movie credit for its entire political dimension, though, which wasn't in the original book that this movie is based on. It's rare to see this; in most cases it's the film that leaves out the book's political content.
I rate this movie a 5 out of 10.
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