As a little girl, Federica fantasized about having beautiful long hair that would grow back as soon as she cut it, about never-ending cones of cotton candy and about countless adventures ... See full summary »
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Kristin Scott Thomas,
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As a little girl, Federica fantasized about having beautiful long hair that would grow back as soon as she cut it, about never-ending cones of cotton candy and about countless adventures that took her to the far side of the world. Now a charming thirty-something-single woman, Federica's fantasies have evolved, adding lovers, stardom, and motherhood to her waking dreams, where Federica continues to press for her everyday life to be as real as the fantasies that invade her. Unfortunately, Federica's daydreams can only provide a meager distraction from the reality she faces. Her career as a successful playwright is heading south, her boyfriend is pressuring her to start a family, a former lover wishes to rekindle an old affair, her sister is barely talking to her, her brother is self-centered and her loving father is terminally ill. And as if to make matters worse, Federica is rich, too rich, and the guilt that consumes her because of it is pushing her over the edge. As Federica ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Yes, this film is a charmer, albeit a very strange one. So strange that even critics don't get it - for example, see Reel Film Reviews under "External Reviews". To begin with the obvious: Federica is rich. Richer than most of us can imagine being. So rich her mother tells her kids: "You have no right to cry, you've got everything." She goes through life with a sense of guilt, asking herself what she's done to deserve such wealth, and how she can justify her existence and avoid becoming a useless parasite.
Our not-quite-heroine chooses to write plays, learn ballet and be nice to everyone. She never outgrows the well-behaved little girl she was long ago, retaining a permanent smile and a squeaky voice. Even her boyfriend is a near-perfect embodiment of her bad conscience: a socialist history teacher who sings the "International" at the wheel of her Jaguar. Naturally, Federica joins right in. Even when they quarrel after he tells her he considers her writing a hobby, not work, she doesn't really defend herself. Instead, she keeps having escapist fantasies of a perfect world where rich and poor live in harmony. The "ridiculous" episode mentioned in the Reel Film review, where her parents have a congenial dinner with her kidnappers, is obviously such a fantasy, and meant to be absurd.
Apparently, the actor-director drew heavily on her own life for this story. Her own wealthy family moved to Paris after the Red Brigades started abducting rich kids. Federica's mother is played by Bruni-Tedeschi's real mother (and God knows how she got her to do it!). I admire the director for the courage it must have taken to make a film so personal, and with so much potential for misunderstanding and ridicule. I also admire the actress for her precarious charm. Do go see this one if you have a Really Rich friend who agonizes over money. Thereafter, please present said friend with a bio of George Soros.
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