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Guido writes novels and short stories; he's detached, diffident. When his wife and teenage daughter move, he stays behind to write. He takes swimming lessons; his teacher is Giulia, somber, perhaps melancholy. They talk from time to time; he invites her out, and she says she doesn't go out at night. We see Guido's stories dramatized - unhappy characters in search of something. Guido helps his daughter navigate a first crush; he disengages from a campaign to win a literary prize. His wife challenges him to reconnect with her. Instead, he focuses on Giulia: drawing her out, learning of her past. Then he intervenes. Can a novelist write reality? Written by
Guido (Valerio Mastandrea) is an award-nominated writer struggling to finish his latest work Umbrella Man. His daughter Costanza wants to quit her swimming lessons. Since it's paid for, he decides to continue the lessons himself. His wife Benedetta is depressed over their faltering relationship. The swim teacher Giulia (Valeria Golino) is hard and does not go out at night. She reveals that she killed a man and can only leave for work at the swimming pool during the day. She is estranged from her daughter.
Giulia is an intriguing character and Valeria Golino has nice quiet intensity. I'm less interested with Guido, his marriage, or his book. His relationship with his daughter has some appeal. I would prefer Giulia as the lead which is suggested in the title. There is more on her side of the story to do character work. The surreal aspect of the movie isn't pushed hard enough to be visually engaging. This movie has some appeal but may be concentrating on the wrong place.
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