Geremia, an aging tailor/money lender, is a repulsive, mean, stingy man who lives alone in his shabby house with his scornful, bedridden mother. He has a morbid, obsessive relationship with...
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The debut feature by acclaimed Italian director Paolo Sorrentino (La Grande Bellezza) is a stylish and blackly comic look at the dark side of fame. Evocatively set during the eighties, the ... See full summary »
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Geremia, an aging tailor/money lender, is a repulsive, mean, stingy man who lives alone in his shabby house with his scornful, bedridden mother. He has a morbid, obsessive relationship with money and he uses it to insinuate himself into other people's affairs, pretending to be the "family friend". One day he is asked by a man to lend him money for the wedding of Rosalba, his daughter. Geremia falls in love at first sight with the bewitching creature and and soon indulges in a "beauty and the beast" relationship... Written by
In a word, weird form the outset. From the opening creepy noises and extreme visual stimulation to the random cuts and bizarre set pieces 'The Family Friend' is nothing if not captivating. Its directed superbly by Paolo Sorrentino, whose last film the 'The Consequences of Love' should give you some idea of his visual style and flair, add to this the great cinematography, brilliant use of music and the twisted central performance of Giacomo Rizzo as Geremia and you have a truly excellent if not a little disturbing movie which is part Lynch, Part Fellini and all original. Geremia is a seventy year old tailor which is actually a cover for the fact he is a loan shark. Lonely and sleazy he prays on the needy and during the loan deals poses as a family friend to surround himself with people. One such family borrows money for their daughters wedding and Geremia becomes self appointed helper and starts arranging things for the young couple. Eventually he falls for the bride to be, a winner of the local beauty pageant, and the film becomes a kind of beauty and the beast tale. She is the gorgeous young girl overly fond of dancing and he amongst other things is a seedy, beastly rapist. The films characters are pretty much all unredeemable and it comes across like an Italian 'League of Gentlemen' with its dark humour and strange set ups. The music adds to the weirdness by ranging from Anthony and the Johnsons to classical and country and western. Just like 'Hidden' from last year the film leaves loads of unanswered questions and loose ends but that adds to its deconstructed nature and doesn't detract in anyway from the main story. Its in the smaller things that this film shines like when everyone takes their own chairs to the beauty contest as 'the sponsor and provider of seats pulled out at the last minute' or how Geremia's carrier bag swings from side to side over his plastered arm as he waddles along in schoolboy short trousers. This film won't be to everyone's liking, it is almost certainly an acquired taste, but those that can get under its skin won't be disappointed and will love it for all its creepy eccentricities
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