My House in Umbria (2003)

TV Movie  |  TV-14  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  25 May 2003 (USA)
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An unlikely group of people find solace and friendship after being thrown together in the wake of a terrorist attack.



(novel), (teleplay)
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 4 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Thomas Riversmith
Inspector Girotti
Doctor Innocenti
Cecilia Dazzi ...
Rosa Crevelli
Anna Longhi ...
Signora Barcini
Deirdre Harrison ...
Silvia De Santis ...
Alison Cameron Adam ...
General's Daughter (as Alison Adam)
Francine Riversmith
Taddeo Harbutt ...
Young General


After a bomb destroys a railway carriage, the four survivors repair to the villa of one, Mrs. Delahunty, a writer of romance novels, a woman with a past. The others are an aging British general, a young German man, and Aimee, an American girl orphaned in the blast. As these four strangers recover in Umbria's countryside and become friends, Aimee's uncle, a cold and childless academic who studies red carpenter ants, arrives to fetch her. Mrs. Delahunty fears this may not be in Aimee's best interests, begins to drink heavily, and fails in her attempts to connect with Aimee's uncle. Meanwhile, a persistent detective investigates the blast. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

villa | girl | carpenter | ant | american | See All (159) »


When you open your door to strangers, you never know who might come in. See more »


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Release Date:

25 May 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mi casa en Umbria  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Mrs. Emily Delahunty: In the garden, delphiniums were in flower. Through scented twilight, the girl in the white dress walked with a step as light as a morning cobweb. That evening she hadn't a care in the world.
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Featured in The 61st Annual Golden Globe Awards (2004) See more »


Music by Erroll Garner
Lyrics by Johnny Burke
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User Reviews

Maggie Smith redeems flawed film about redemption

The HBO TV movie "My House in Umbria" should be seen primarily for the complex and layered performance of divine Maggie Smith. As romance novelist Emily Delahunty, she projects an image of refinement and elegance that conceals a deeper, darker self. That self is revealed slowly, and we find hidden within a character that is not only at variance with Miss Delahunty's adopted persona, but also very different from the prim and proper ladies Maggie Smith habitually plays on the silver screen. We see that Miss Smith is capable even of being seductive and slatternly, most unlike her many repressed and spinsterish roles.

Maggie Smith has the kind of mesmerizing voice and marvelous diction that would enable her to entertain film audiences by reading the proverbial telephone book. I am reminded of Glenda Jackson's (virtual) one-woman show in "Stevie" and Joanne Woodward's voice-over of "The Age of Innocence".

The rest of the characters in "My House in Umbria" are, alas, a motley crew, sketched in only very lightly, merely second bananas to Maggie Smith's central figure. The time of the story is difficult to pin down based on the clothes and motor cars, but one imagines it takes place during the 1970s, the era of the Bader-Meinhof gang in Germany and the Red Brigades in Italy. The denouement is a little too pat, but the journey is still well worth our while.

One of the key questions raised in the film is what anger would drive a human being to commit an act of terror. But it becomes quickly apparent that political terrorism is not the only kind of "man's inhumanity to man" that is intended here. The focus is, rather, on innocence shattered and destroyed, the cruelty visited by individuals upon each other, the sense of guilt that it engenders, and the possibility of forgiveness and redemption that always, always exists if we "seize the day" and allow ourselves to be happy.

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