Donatella and Beatrice reside in a psychiatric facility in Tuscany. They have very different life stories, but a chance to escape brings them together in an adventure that will change their...
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Donatella and Beatrice reside in a psychiatric facility in Tuscany. They have very different life stories, but a chance to escape brings them together in an adventure that will change their lives forever and will help them realize the beauty in imperfection.Written by
A little more than 'The Dream Team' meets 'Thelma and Louise'
At first you wonder what a woman like Beatrice Morandelli Valdirana is doing in the Villa Biondi, an institution for women with mental health problems in the Tuscan countryside. She claims to be a Countess, rich, well-connected and knowledgeable. A little bit of a busybody maybe, talkative, inquisitive and demanding but clearly intelligent. It's not long however before you're wondering what on earth they are thinking letting her out to do some part-time work at a plant nursery. Are they mad?
The difference is that Beatrice seems to have hit it off with a new 'inmate', Donatella Morelli, who has been brought in after a suicide attempt. Unlike Beatrice, Donatella is silent, withdrawn and nervous, and has no social connections and only one number on her phone. When the mini bus picking them up from the nursery is late one day, the two women decide to make their own way back; the long way, with a few amusing diversions along the way.
With two inmates from a mental health institution on the loose, you might think La Pazza Gioia (Like Crazy) is going to be something along the lines of 'The Dream Team' meets 'Thelma and Louise', and indeed the film plays up the crazy angle for all it's worth, with plenty of broad humour to be had in their encounters along the road and their chases from the authorities. Principally however, La Pazza Gioia is an actor's game, and Paolo Virzi is working with two of the best here, giving them great material to work with.
Beatrice is a gift of a role for Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, who has a successful career as an actor in France and Italy and has drawn on her own aristocratic background as the writer/director of 'Il est plus facile pour un chameau...' and 'Un château en Italie'. Give her broad and she'll expand to fill the role, demonstrating the full range of her abilities from comedy to drama, from melodrama to more subtle exchanges and sensitivities. The dynamic is stretched further in the contrasting role offered to Micaela Ramazzotti as Donatella, who is searching for her son who has been taken away from her and into care. This gives the film a little more dramatic poignancy than the premise might suggest.
More then than just being a buddy comedy or a vehicle for two great actors, it's the fact that there are two great performers in these roles that gives the film the necessary balance between comedy and more serious matters that are raised. La Pazza Gioia looks at some of the problems faced by women and how those troubles are not recognised or taken seriously in the no-nonsense modern world. It's enough to drive anyone crazy.
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