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Dino Ossola, a small-time real estate agent who dreams of bigger things ; Serena Ossola, his teenage daughter who dates a spoilt rich brat ; Carla Bruneschi, an actress who has given up her career to marry a wealthy businessman ; Massimiliano Giovanni Bernaschi, her husband, a powerful player ; Massimiliano Bernaschi, the troubled son of the Bernaschis' ; Roberta Ossola, a psychologist, Dino's second wife ; Donato Russomano, a brilliant drama teacher who is stuck on Carla ; Luca Ambrosini, a teenager frowned upon by others ; an anonymous cyclist... They are all shareholders of the human capital. Errr... all? Really?Written by
Dino Ossola is an unpleasant guy. Being myself Italian - and even from the same area of the story - I know well that very specific type of Italian nastiness. Dino is arrogant, greedy, superficial, mean and stupid. A little man who cares only about himself. He has a daughter from a previous marriage (Serena) and a new partner, Roberta, pregnant with twins. Roberta is a psychiatrist and you can be sure, she is very bad at her job. She seems completely oblivious to the nastiness of her man, to the troubles of her step-daughter and to everything else, including their financial situation.
Carla is another female character, also living in a world of her own: a blonde ex-actress, trophy wife of Giovanni, a rich, unscrupulous businessman. Their obnoxious offspring is spoiled and rude Massimiliano. He is Serena's boyfriend (for a short while). That is how the two families are connected and how the story develops. Serena and Massi, after a short summer fling decide to keep their break-up secret (pretty flimsy plot device, but still...). The night before Christmas, the two families meet for a social dinner that turns into a disaster.
Serena leaves to meet her new, secret flame, Luca, a guy from a poor background and a disreputable past, but later into the night, she is called to drive home a very drunk Massi, while the rest of their families is lost in adventures of their own. A crime ensues, and while you might wish the guilty party is the most obvious person, there are a few surprises in store.
Most praise goes to Bentivoglio for playing Dino Ossola so convincingly. The other male roles are equally good, from cold businessman Giovanni, to spoiled brat Massi. Lo Cascio has a small part, as a frustrated intellectual with some venom of his own to spit.
The female characters are dissatisfactory: two out of three are of the maternal, ineffective, removed-from-reality type. The third, young Serena, is lost in a hormonal tempest of her own and juts as inept as the older women. One can see a difficult life ahead of her, but we must pretend to see the future through rose-tinted glass, because young love is so cute... except it is not. A big loose end is left hanging: did Serena learn of her father's part in the denouement of the plot? How are thing going in her family?
Interesting movie, with a suitable sombre wintery setting, to enhance the desolation of these lost souls.
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