Two brothers come of age in the 1960s in a town south of Rome. Manrico is handsome, sometimes feckless, a leftist making the revolution. His younger brother Accio ("Bully") is a seminarian when the story beings, soon home studying Latin and joining the Fascists. Francesca, an aristocratic student, becomes Manrico's lover and Accio's friend. Over the next ten years, these three experience family, love, attraction, politics, and the challenges of adult responsibility. Subplots include Nastri, a father figure and political guide to Accio, Nastri's wife Bella who guides Accio in other ways, and the brothers' parents and sister, who are dazzled by Manrico's charm while depending on Accio.Written by
Based on the novel by Antonio Pennacci, "My Brother is an Only Child" is a tale of two brothers growing up in Italy in the turbulent 1960s and '70s. Though remarkably alike in disposition and temperament, the two siblings, nevertheless, find themselves on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Manrico (Riccardo Scamarrio), the older of the two, is a committed Communist who rallies the workers in his town to stand up for their rights. Accio (Elio Germano), his younger brother and also the narrator of the story, is a hardcore Fascist who venerates Mussolini and participates in violent protests against the Marxists. A hothead and a bully by nature, Accio (the name actually means "bully" in Italian) finds a convenient outlet for his rage and violence in the thuggery and strong arm tactics he and his fellow fascists use against their adversaries. Manrico and Accio have obviously had a tumultuous love-hate relationship their entire lives, and things get even more complicated when Accio falls in love with Manrico's girlfriend, Francesca. But each man must ultimately decide where his true loyalty finally lies - with family or with the ideological cause that moves and empowers him. This becomes an even more complex question when one of the brothers becomes increasingly disillusioned with the goals and tactics used by his side, while the other grows increasingly radicalized in his commitment to his.
Director Daniele Luchetti brings renewed life to the coming-of-age genre with his intense concentration on the sociopolitical elements of the story. It gets so bad between the two warring factions that even a performance of Beethoven becomes a pretext for bloodshed and violence. And the constant tussling between the two brothers - who can't seem to see eye-to-eye on anything except the girl they love - becomes a microcosmic reflection of the larger world around them.
Uniformly superb performances and naturalistic direction make this a complex and ultimately very moving study of brotherhood, family, maturity and commitment.
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