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In the dysfunctional Italian middle-class family Ristuccia, the middle-aged executive Carlo has a stalled life without passion, bored in his work and having a monotonous life with his wife Giulia. Giulia is a frustrated and hysterical woman because she gave up of being an actress in her youth to dedicate to the family. Their needy son Paolo feels lost and rejected, trying to find who he is and flirting with a schoolmate. Their seventeen years old daughter Valentina is decided to work in a television show, and is fighting to have an audition. When Carlo meets his former sweetheart Alessia in a class reunion, they confess to each other that their marriages are in crisis and both feel passion arising again. Meanwhile Giulia is invited to an audition in a stage production and to participate of a play. Paolo tries to make friends using marijuana in his birthday party, and Valentina has sex with different guys trying to be a dancer of the famous TV show 'Ali Babbi'. Their relationships ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Tell me the truth Valentina, what do you think of me? What am I like from the outside?
You know what I think about you.
Tell me anyway.
I think you're clueless and inexpressive, when you talk it sounds like you've got a rag in you mouth and people can't understand a f**k, you don't shower and you dress like a communist loser when the world goes in the opposite direction. This is what I think.
No, that's enough.
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A delicate, multi-faceted, true and touching punch in your stomach
Yesterday I saw this excellent movie, and it is still lingering in my brain and my soul.
I merely liked, not loved, Gabriele Muccino's smash Italian hit L'Ultimo Bacio when I saw it, since its depiction of thirtysomething doubts and fears left a sort of slightly fake aftertaste in my mouth. Plus, it waned out of my mind in a couple of hours, even though I had enjoyed while I was in the theatre.
Ricordati Di Me is a very, very different deal. It's a delicate, multi-faceted, true and touching punch in your stomach.
Well written and well played - especially by the extremely skillful and absolutely charming Fabrizio Bentivoglio, who's one of Italy's most gifted thesps as well as the longtime boyfriend of Rain Man's Valeria Golino (here you see him pouring his heart out onscreen with painful, searing directness)
the movie brings you into the home of a dysfunctional Italian family not
dissimilar from so many dysfunctional Italian families.
Meet them: there is the melancholic, romantic, slightly frustrated husband Carlo (played by Bentivoglio), who's an obscure white-collar worker who once wanted to be a writer and keeps a sensitivity that leaves him totally exposed to raw emotions and to the eventual unfair blow of fate, all of this while keeping as well a still-unfinished novel in one of his drawers; then there is his VERY frustrated teacher wife (played by the ever-classy Laura Morante), who once wanted to be a stage actress. They've got two teenage kids, one of them a vain and egotistical 18-year-old daughter, keen on only one thing, i.e. becoming a TV starlet (played by stunning newcomer Nicoletta Romanoff), and the other one a vaguely leftish, pot-smoking daydreamer senior high schooler son (played by the director's brother).
Nothing new or revolutionary here, be sure of that, but the whole tale elaborated by Gabriele Muccino about the emotional disintegration of this apparently average family is narrated with passion and participation, both by its writer-director and by the actors.
The foursome meet enormous difficulties in communicating with each other - not only the parents with their children do, but also each of them with any other one, and egotism and indifference run rampant, especially in the veins of Valentina, the young daughter, who's a truly upsetting spectacle to watch, what with her relentless pursuing of a tinsel world, a world made of garish make-up, TV studios and squalid sex relationships with one or the other TV beefcake idol, since this girl, while still looking very innocent on the outside, would do anything to be cast in some cheesy TV show as one of the decorative babes who strut and grind in the background.
So, when you see Carlo, the husband, falling again - after many years - for married and unsatisfied mother of two Alessia (the ever-stunning Monica Bellucci, here way more expressive and intense than usual), an old flame of his youth, you just cannot think, not even for a second, of him as a middle-aged philanderer, or of Alessia as your typical homewrecker. The rekindling of their love is something so pure, so tender, so NEEDED by both these characters, that you can't help rooting for them - and be heartbroken when things just become spinning in a totally unpredicted direction, which I don't want to spoil for you.
I also truly appreciated the open ending, which leaves the audience enough room to imagine whatever they like for the future life of these characters, who've just been, anyway, through a journey able to break - once and for all
the walls of hypochrisy that previously surrounded them.
Go and see this movie, you won't regret it.
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