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Melissa P.
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Melissa P. More at IMDbPro »

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64 out of 101 people found the following review useful:

Highly Under-rated

Author: vijaymd44 from Texas, USA
10 February 2007

First-off, the only reason I'm writing this is because the 4.3 rating is almost impossible. I mean the direction and cinematography by itself will get this movie to a 6. No, I haven't read the book and I genuinely do not believe that the movie should be rated as per the adaptation from the book. The performances standing out are Melissa (of course) and her grandmother. The music and cinematography have a presence of their own throughout the movie. And the plot never gets boring or unrealistic, given a slightly open imagination. If you're aged anywhere between 15 and 35 I would highly recommend a viewing. The only reason I gave it an 8/10 is because we have movies like Fight Club and Animatrix.

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16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Ruthless approach to female teen libido

Author: Imdbidia from Planet Earth
14 February 2011

An Italo-Spanish co-production about the sexual awakening of teenager Melissa, loosely based in the semi-autobiographic novel "100 colpi di spazzola prima di andare a dormire" by Melissa Panarello.

The movie shows the dilemmas, challenges, and darkness that young women face when they become sexual beings, try to accept their sexuality, but have no sexual education or guidance.

It is truly rare finding a movie that focus on teenager women and sex, and not men, and in which the woman is presented as an explicitly sexual human being.

The movie is frank and even ruthless in its approach to contemporary teens' sexuality in general and Melissa's in particular. We see her strong shameless strong sex drive, which she cannot harmonize with her wish to be loved and respected as a woman by a man. She struggles making sense of the importance of accepting social boundaries and not giving way to peer pressure to fit into a group, which is a quintessential teen problem. Melissa's awakening is a path of pain as well as of pleasure, but takes her to very dark places, in scenes that can be disturbing.

Despite the good premises, the script is uneven, not always engaging, and has most adult characters barely sketched except for Melissa's and for Melissa's charming eccentric grandmother -played by Geraldine Chaplin-. The character of Melissa's mother Daria -played by Fabrizia Sacchi- is barely drawn, and very stereotypical. The absent father, and his marital relationship with Daria, is barely explained, just a reference outside. Most male teen characters are depicted as despicable villains, stereotypical machos, and I don't think I want to believe that is always the case.

Maria Valverde is very good as Melissa, actually, she's the best thing in the movie. She has an impressive acting registry for such a young age. Her face is splendorous always, her expression innocent, childish, weak and boyish sometimes, hyper-feminine, dramatic, strong and sexual some others. Valverde has to deal with very raunchy scenes, some of them very dramatic, and she succeeds at making believable her character. Geraldine Chaplin is always a delight, but I did not find her especially inspired in this movie, mostly because the way her character is written. The rest of the actors are just OK.

A not always engaging movie, but with some interesting themes and a good performance by Valverde.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

More parents should watch this movie.

Author: inkslayer from United States
30 January 2013

All too often a young girl's first sexual experience is not pleasant. Girls have love in their hearts and want desperately to be liked. Boys, on the other hand, just want to get their rocks off.

Melissa P. is a well-written, realistic depiction of what happens to a young girl - Melissa - as the result of her first sexual experience with an arrogant, self-centered young man who uses her as a receptacle. Angry and disillusioned, Melissa takes a destructive path.

Well-done is Melissa's redemption (and payback): a symbolic "cleansing" as she falls backwards into the sea as her horrified peers gape.

Melissa P. is not for viewers who are uncomfortable watching a teenage girl being treated like a sexual object. The scenes between Melissa and her "suitors" are realistic, but not graphic like an x-rated movie. Just remember, what happens to Melissa happens to too many young girls. And this is why I think this movie should be watched by parents and young teenage girls.

If parents did their jobs - discussing sex with their daughters and telling them how and why some boys are pigs - there wouldn't be the Melissa's of the world. Or, if this movie was shown in sex ed classes - that ain't ever going to happen - young girls would know which boys to look out for, and avoid.

As far as the cast, Maria Valverde's portrayal of Melissa is Oscar-worthy. Geraldine Chaplin always takes small parts and makes them memorable.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Cruel and tender movie - just like the teen age which it describes

Author: truuzz from Prague
5 December 2010

I saw many embarrassed and even angry reviews on this film, which were pushing me off the chair, and i wanna talk not about the film itself, but the topic it chose. Because that caught me in memories of my youth, that is what also makes a great film, the script, and I can't be grateful enough for this made me remember.

The film is not as much of a fiction as many would like it to be. In very realistic way discloses the hyper-sensitivity of youth, the feelings, the special way everything is coming to a man's brain, the sex, the colors, messed up thoughts...and then here are decisions. It is wonderful how Melissa always want to choose what to do with her life, what to feel, how to act, what to search for, but somehow the change is only in her deeds but not in her inside, her diary pickups are often in disharmony with what happens to her afterwards. But although she is in fact doing this to herself, she is just so full of it! And so she is coping with her teenage pain as rational as she can in her age. Of course, the sex. When you don't know what it is, but you want it badly. She is less self-aware then the character played by Liv Tyler in Stealing Beauty, but much more pro-active. She doesn't let situations pass by, she is grabbing what she can of them, she does not wait in a corner. That's what i liked at Melissa. The cruelty of acts and the sweetness of the inside. Unsplittable. And that this movie is more real than a sweet romance movie. It is of the age - if she were a little more older, the tender detailed camera would lost its narrative function. And maybe the casting would pickup another actress.

Anyway, I love it more and more. It's telling exactly the teen story, which have been missed.

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18 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

it deserves a sign 15 circle

Author: bulent kalay from Turkey
4 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At first glance, it was a little bit disappointment, when I saw Melissa P. I had an expectation that Melissa P. herself would have played in this movie. But Maria Valverde was really fitted in the role either with appearance or with talent. In spite of the movie has been showed with the sign 18 circle, when we look at the scenes in reality it deserves a sign 15 circle. There was an incompatibility with the books itself and the movie. Some parts had failed to hit, some parts have been drawn into the scenes fast and verbally. That makes the story snapped. Maybe because of the movie depends on a memoir not on a complete scenario. It seemed that at the end of the movie Melissa had commit a suicide. Then, she appeared on surface and visited her father's mother Nonna Elvira's grave with her mother. It was a misty scenario, not open as we understood. As if Melissa quit these kinds of sex games and correct her communication with her mother forever when she realized she was in wrong way. It is not easy to find a right way after diving too deep. In the book Melissa did not stop playing games.

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Not a baby

Author: sol- from Perth, Australia
10 December 2016

Based on a controversial novel, this coming-of-age drama from 'A Bigger Splash' director Luca Guadagnino focuses on a fifteen year old girl who begins to sexually experiment in unconventional and degrading ways. María Valverde is well cast in the title role and wearing negligible makeup, Geraldine Chaplin looks at least a decade older than her actual age in a memorable turn as Valverde's feisty, free-spirited grandmother. Interesting as Valverde is to follow around, there are some gaps in her character progression. At times, it seems like she is acting out as a result of being rebuffed by her high school crush with at least a couple of points in which she agrees to do things to prove that she is "not a baby". And yet, it is what happens to her grandmother that actually initiates her quest, and try as the film does, it has trouble finding a balance between being about grief and societal pressures. There is also something to be said for the lack of graphic imagery. Most of her exploits are told to us via diary entries and while this has the advantage of leaving it up to one's imagination to fill in the blanks, everything that occurs resonates less since we only ever see fleeting glimpses of her quest. Curiously enough, even with the explicit content kept to a minimum, the film has still sparked some controversy. It is certainly not a film for all tastes and its low IMDb rating is only representative of just how divisive a movie it is. 'Melissa P.' is hardly a flawless motion picture, but there is more of interest to it than one might expect.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Lurid confessions of a teenage sex addict

Author: lazarillo from Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile
28 August 2014

There are several things that annoy me about modern-day teen films to the extent that I very rarely watch them. First, the "teenagers" these films are invariably played by very attractive, mature-looking actors (this is the nature of cinema in general, but it probably doesn't do much for the self esteem of actual teenagers). Second, teenagers in movies are always single-mindedly obsessed with sex to the exclusion of pretty much anything else. (When was the last time you saw a film about a group of teenage friends making a pact to all get into a good college before they graduate?). Third, despite the obsessive focus on sex and an entire cast of gorgeous twenty-something "teenagers", American teen films at least are ironically quite prudish about actually showing any sex or nudity because they have to get the all-important PG-13 rating from the idiots at the MPAA . On the other hand, if the films are R-rated and aimed more at adults, they tend to be ridiculous alarmist tracts about the morals of "kids today".

This Spanish-Italian co-production is some ways stereotypical, but in some ways refreshing. The lead, Maria Valverde, was only 18 at the time. Still, she is an absolutely beautiful girl and NOT remotely believable as a naive virgin being taken advantage of sexually by her male peers. (Girls that look like her probably don't even date their gawky male peers, and are only taken advantage of by older male modeling agents). She is also quite obsessed with sex and rather unaccountably so. She really doesn't have to give up her virginity to an abusive douchebag, but even if she does, it's not clear why this turns her into the kind of crazed nympho rarely seen outside a porn film. At least this movie does not have to hypocritically kowtow to the MPAA--Valverde's character is first introduced topless and masturbating. And while the subsequent sex scenes aren't necessarily graphic by European standards, they'd no doubt make the blue noses at the MPAA downright apoplectic.

This movie isn't an alarmist indictment of a whole generation, but it is guilty of lurid sensationalism. It was based on a "confessional" teen autobiography that in turn was probably inspired by the seminal confessional teen autobiography "Christiane F.". But instead being about a teen heroin addict, it's about a promiscuous teen sex addict. I have a hard time believing that sex is addictive as heroin though for ANYBODY, but obviously the audience gets more of a vicarious thrill from watching a pretty teenage girl having lots of sex than watching a scuzzy junkie shoot up. This movie does try to delve into other areas of the girl's life like her relationship with neglectful, lonely and single (but, of course, very attractive) mother, and her beloved grandmother (Vanessa Redgrave),who's hilariously stuck in the libertine Swinging 60's era.

Maria Valverde would go on to better things like "Cracks" with Eva Green and Juno Temple, and "Madrid 67", which was even more sexually graphic, but also gave her much more opportunity to act. This was a pretty inauspicious debut for her, but it's not terrible.

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20 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Loosely based on an atrocious "novel"

Author: torched84 from United States
19 July 2007

I saw very little of the book in this film, this is not to say that this alone makes for a poor movie. As a matter of fact it was better that the book despite the fact that I still thought it was awful. I personally feel that the only reason any one bothered to make this book into a film was because of the shock value. Melissa's sexual exploits were for the most part disgusting and whatever was left over was disturbing. I'm not prude but that book nauseated me, and the movie wasn't much better. At least the movie had some kind of a story. The book was more or less a detailed list of all the raunchy things she had done in her past, there was no connection between her and any part of her family. No mention of the grandmother that figures quite largely into the movie's plot, not a peep. All in all if you have the choice between the movie or the book pick the movie, at least it is shorter.

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A little movie, with some value

Author: Guillermo Uria (hardland) from Uruguay
7 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When you see a movie about something controversial you can focus on your opinion on the subject... or you can focus on the film.

This is a movie about sex and teenagers, and yo have to choose between your opinion and what the movie is. But when putting stars to a movie or writing down a review... I prefer thinking only about the movie.

And... it has an excellent photography, and a pair of really good actress (Marisa Valverde, as Melissa; and Geraldine Chaplin as her grandmother).

But the film relays excessively on its matter. It lacks dramatic progression, or any deep sight inside the characters. So you have to get tied only to the sexual experience of the girl.

That's why for me the film just deserves a six.

But I think it will be ethically wrong to avoid saying a word about its subject. This movie begins as a transgressive one... only to turn around as a conservative one near the end.

And I deeply dislike it. The true usually lies in libertine lives.

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10 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Film below expectations... The book? No thanks

Author: Martha Savila from United States
11 October 2009

I just learned this movie is based on a book. I must say I would never read it. The story line has absolutely no value -a young girl believes that just because her first sexual encounter was somehow traumatic, that made her instantly an expert on men and sex- it's really a poor subject. Besides, there are no interesting dialogs nor an appealing related story to support it. The main actress Valverde doesn't look young enough and most of the rest of the cast seems isolated. On the plus side, the movie is nicely shot, the background songs are appropriate and Geraldine Chaplin brings some brightness as the bohemian grandmother. Teenagers sexuality is a subject that should be treated with more depth otherwise the result is sooo vain.

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