In Search of Fellini (2017) Poster

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My Favorite Thing About Art
md-4575520 September 2017
If you're looking for a typical Hollywood cookie-cutter predictable film, stay at home and watch Bridget Jones because this isn't one of those.

Its stunning photography and enough of a Fellini film's "Huh?", mixed with a story which made me have to suspend belief a couple times but then I remembered it's not a documentary so I was good again. Oh, yeah - it's a movie! I got immersed, involved and actually got a bit emotional at the end.

I probably came away with a slightly different take on what the film was about than you will, and that's my favorite thing about art. Go see it and enjoy the beauty of your own journey with this lovely film.
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welcome to the universe
David Ferguson30 April 2017
USA Film Festival 2017 Greetings again from the darkness. Even In this age of "helicopter parenting" it's disconcerting to see such flagrant over-protectiveness as that perpetuated by Maria Bello's character on her daughter Lucy. For film lovers, it's even more disheartening to see how the mother uses "happy ending" movies such as It's a Wonderful Life to create the social bubble that results in 20 year old Lucy having never been kissed, and having no concept of reality (outside of what she has seen in movies).

Contrary to what that set-up would have us believe, director Taron Lexton's film is actually less Coming-of-Age and more 'Welcome to the Universe', and Lucy's journey of self-discovery is quite enjoyable to behold. Co-written by Nancy Cartwright and Peter Kjenaas, it's the 'based on a true story' of Ms. Cartwright's own personal journey prior to her nearly 30 year run as the voice of Bart Simpson.

Lucy (Ksenia Solo, Black Swan) is off on an interview-gone-wrong when she stumbles into a Fellini film festival. She is immediately entranced by the obscure imagery and often less-than-happy endings. In fact, she connects with the films in such a manner that she is inspired to travel to Italy and meet with the Maestro himself. Ms. Cartwright's real life motivation stemmed from watching Fellini's La Strada (1954), and she instantly saw herself in Gelsomina (played by the spirited Giuletta Masina).

Her travels through Italy are filled with ups and downs, and Lucy crosses paths with good people and bad. It's her first true life experience and we are along for the ride. The structure of the story is such that as Lucy is discovering life, her mother (Bello) is back home in Ohio slowly losing her battle with cancer while being nursed by her straight-talking sister (Mary Lynn Rajskub, Chloe from "24"). Such contrasting elements would fit right in to a Fellini film.

At some point, most movie lovers experience the awakening that occurs when graduating from pleasant, feel good family movies to more esoteric and philosophical cinema. Fortunately, this awakening typically occurs before age 20 and does not require an international trip or dying mother to allow us to grow as a person. Ms. Cartwright's willingness to share her story makes for interesting filmmaking and one of the more unusual coming-of-age (or Welcome to the Universe) twists that we've seen on screen.
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An unexpected pleasure
gcoombsou28 September 2017
You don't have to be a Fellini fan to enjoy and appreciate this movie, but if you have some familiarity, you will catch the references built into both the story and the cinematography (which is beautiful) and the Fellini clips integrated throughout. The story is a stylized, semi-autobiographical view of a solo trip co-writer Nancy Cartwright made to Italy in her early 20s after becoming enamored of the films of Federico Fellini. Ksenia Solo as Lucy, gives a wonderful performance, growing from wide eyed innocence and naivety through her experiences, good and bad (and bizarre). Her eyes alone speak volumes in every scene. Maria Bello and Mary Lynn Rajskub as Lucy's mother and aunt also shine as they negotiate their relationships both with Lucy and each other.
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Wonderful, visual film
edieinc21 September 2017
Loved the film. The lead, not sure of her name, was charming as hell and the film was lush and visually amazing. The energy of the film moved fast and forward and made it fun to watch. I'm amazed they got the locations they did. The story inspired me to go out and live more and take some chances. It hot the romantic and adventurous nature in me. This is a date movie for sure. A perfect film to take your gal to and let the film take you on an adventure. Enjoy.
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Lyrically shot, beautiful story AND a trip to Italy!
meskimen-116 September 2017
This film is a magical journey, truly. The cinematography, sound and music combine with winning direction and performances to make for a very emotional and aesthetic film. Plus, you really feel like you have been to Venice, Rome and Verona! Well done, all departments. I enjoyed it very much and so did my wife and my mom.
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In Search of a Meaning
Gre da Vid10 April 2018
The beginning a little strange. Then it moved to bizarre. Then to potentially possible. At times had to ask the question, "what is the purpose of this story?" The naive goes to Rome to meet someone she doesn't know and who does not really want to meet her. The flashbacks to Fellini's films don't make much sense and don't seem to contribute to the story. I guess I just don't understand "art."
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Childhood trip to adulthood
ozo las1 February 2018
The fact that a movie kept me with eyes wide open at 2 am is a good start.

I have read another review somewhere that you will dig this movie if you are a true romantic, and that is definitely true. You have to be a romantic to brush off some movie moments and concentrate on the actual story and the way it is filmed, which is beautifully. All the dangers are portrayed really well,as well as the capture of the beauty.

Having explored Italy twice not so long ago, it was even easier to sink in to the story, not knowing much about Fellini ( bad, when you are actually watching a movie about connections to Fellini) I will now have to familiarise myself with some of his movies. Which I am looking forward to!

Overall, I loved this movie, it is a very positive and heart warming story.
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A fantastic and moving experience
tonebefree20 September 2017
Just a wonderful vibrant story about coming of age . Smartly written, beautifully imaged, thoroughly well acted, directed and scored. Evoked many emotions for me personally. A true work of art... I encourage all to see it .. it's a cinematic experience that speaks to why we all love To go to the movies ...
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Moving, compelling, thought provoking
gene-denos15 September 2017
We love the doting mother who creates a daughter child who is open to experience the true soul of life. Piqued by Fellini she takes us on an awakening journey and through her we experience love and life. I felt the film resonate in so many ways. What a wonder break from car chases and explosions. Don't miss this film. If you do you will miss one of the best films of the year.
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A Charming and Poignant Journey
Thomas_SC28 January 2018
"In Search of Fellini" is not a film without flaws but due to a well-crafted sense of wonder, an obvious reverence of Fellini's work, and especially a terrific lead performance, it is able to overcome them and in the end deliver a satisfying drama.

Young Lucy has been sheltered from the world by her loving, though over-protective, mom and after her 1st job interview goes awry, she stumbles upon a Fellini film festival and falls in love with the enigmatic films. So enamored is Lucy that she travels to Italy in the hopes of meeting the legendary filmmaker, in the process getting introduced to the real world, both the bad and the good of it.

The film's writing is generally well done, though a couple aspects of the story require some suspension of disbelief. I didn't find that any of these moments too damaging however, though occasionally just a little distracting.

The visuals were excellent; From beautiful wide shots of Italy too party scenes where vivid color usage livens things up, the film was nice looking and more importantly did a great job of placing how Lucy was viewing these scenes and events onto the screen. Her sense of excitement and wonder at the beauty of the Colosseum, for instance, along with her feelings of confusion during a hectic dance scene. Very well done indeed by the first-time director Taron Lexton and his cinematographer.

I admit to not being a connoisseur of Frederico Fellini, though I have found what I have watched of his films enjoyable. The people behind "In Search of Fellini" obviously have great admiration of the late filmmaker, as their movie is chock full of references and parallels to his films. From the obvious (such as the appearance of the 'man in chains') to the subtler (Lucy's striped shirt) the love of Fellini is everywhere, and just seeing how much these filmmakers admired him adds even more charm to an already charming film.

My favorite part of the movie however was Ksenia Solo's performance as Lucy. Already a big fan of Miss Solo's previous work, I think this may be her finest performance yet. Her Lucy is naïve and shy, though occasionally rash, but also curious and the primary source of the aforementioned charm. Miss Solo delivers all of this and a wide range of emotion throughout the film, in my opinion just top-notch work. The other actors do their part too though, Maria Bello as Lucy's mother Claire and Mary Lynn Rajskub as Claire's sister both deliver good performances as well.

My main criticisms of the film are the previously mentioned parts of the story that require 'suspension of disbelief', but also the fact the film is occasionally melodramatic. There are more than a few times where some more subtlety would have been welcome.

All in all, In Search of Fellini is probably not a brilliant film, but it is certainly a good one. Wonder-filled with some dramatic punch to boot, I found it thoroughly enjoyable. 8/10.
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Sheltered young woman blossoms on trip to Italy
interbang9 October 2017
This is a perfect movie for anyone who loves Italy and Fellini. It gets off to a charming start, then jumps up a level when the action moves to Genoa, Venice and Rome. Anyone familiar with Fellini's films will instantly key in on what Nancy Cartwright is after. Who would have expected this from the voice of Bart Simpson? Charming characters, the tone never falters. Highly recommended.
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Truly Touching Film
jianinehuff20 September 2017
I went into this film not knowing much about what the story would be, but that it was mostly based on true events that depicted a young girl's journey to Italy in search of a director.

For me, it was really a beautiful story about family, adventure, love, loss, personal growth, independence and persevering through barriers to achieve your purpose. It was gorgeously shot and really moved me both visually and emotionally.
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In search of art and found it
homefan1 April 2018
I don't recall exactly how I found this film just a short while ago, but it looked like a light, pleasant tale that included some beautiful Italian settings and an interesting arty plot. I was right with the settings, but this film delivered quite the punch just as it very likely planned to align with the beauty, but also the dramatic content of Fellini's films. I'm far from an expert on Fellini and I've only glimpsed a few scenes over the years, but I think I understand the stature of his work. So if the emotions conjured up by this little modern gem is similar to that of the maestro, I should try have a deeper look at Fellini's work.

So, I was rather surprised and taken aback a few times with the seriousness, fear and emotional weight of some of the scenes in this film. Many other scenes were almost pure art form and created quite the ball of confusion. What was she really experiencing and seeing? And how could the opening message of "Inspired by a almost true story" be true? In IMDB, it says that the film was inspired by a real adventure taken by co-writer Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson. I'm going to rate this is solid 7 or possibly an 8 for the simple reason I think I want to watch it again.

It was beautiful, sad, sexy, scary, joyful, hopeful. It was a real rollercoaster of a ride. But it's not for everyone, maybe not an enjoyable ride for many people. But I liked it, a lot. 7/10.
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Surprisingly adept, beautiful and emotionally satisfying
crealsa31 March 2018
Amazingly not a valentine to Fellini, this strange film invents and fluently speaks its own language throughout. It is pure storytelling - never veering into hero worship, it stays with the story of this young, fascinated woman on her peculiar journey of discovery. It manages to extract some of the more dazzling and compelling images from Fellini's films, particularly not to say emphatically, Giulietta Masina in La Strada and weave it facilely with the character's "real" time experiences. (How did they do that?!) I expected the worst but instead found it romantic and lighthanded, at times delightful. Anyone who goes to this film in search of parenting wisdom, will likely be disappointed. We are - refreshingly - shown her upbringing as a fait accompli without moralization, or in Fellini-like fashion. The film is the opposite of prescriptive.

Very lovely work.
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Coming out of a childhood fantasy..
ravi24459 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Nice movie. Lucy is so over protected by her (single) mom who does not want her hurt by the 'lessons of life', that she is not even told that her dog dies, when it does. Lucy gets greeting cards from her dog that went 'off on an adventure'. So, when she is 20, and her mom is obviously declining in health, she is lost. A chance encounter with a screening of a Fellini movie leads to an obsession, and then, she takes off for a somewhat half baked trip to Italy. She has an appointment to keep with Fellini, which she sets up over the phone! Many practical details are glossed over (where did she get a passport, if mom was so protective, etc?). The movie shines in interweaving fantasy and her dreamlike state with reality and her mother's experiences with her own. This is not 'realism' by any stretch.. towards the end, we are rewarded with a young self confident woman, who has learned a lot of life lessons from her Italy trip.
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Brilliant, emotional, one of a kind
pleximeg24 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was non-stop, taking you on a ride, exciting, adventurous, emotional, beautiful, aesthetic, warm, intense, mysterious -- adjectives that I can use to describe very few movies nowadays. This movie was crafted so well, drew you into the movie and the story and the character's feelings, viewpoint, life, so much -- that you were constantly wanting the next scene to come -- faster and faster than it ever could! The music was gorgeous, very sweet, very beautiful. The colors, the scenery, the cinematography was excellent. The entire story really was just extremely unique, extremely emotional, and truly -- was just a wonderful exhibit of storytelling. I highly recommend and think this movie really should get very high honors at award ceremonies this year.
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This Film Is A Good Deed
Reminiscent of Guillermo del Toro's work, here we see a balance drawn between innocence and what is sinister in Fellini's favorite item: love. Let me start with the movie's end which wraps around the movie, bringing it full circle. This element, to me, is one of the true hallmarks of great story telling. Reality is overcome by fantasy; a vehicle and accessory to projecting the fantastic onto life, which thus transformed, is good! To one almost completely unfamiliar with Fellini's work, this film is both a good introduction and is it's own creature, holding up it's own unique lens.

The film makers did a good deed here. Here, the profane is transformed. The female protagonist's fixation on the fantastic is celebrated, a unique event in cinema these days, where truth is more often than not, seen as a brute. An authentic female heroically hunts down her own idea of what true love is. Her greatest endowment is not that her mother sheltered her from the world, but that her world is free from what is essentially abuse. We, of course, see this as a weakness initially, however, this concern is thrust aside as a whimsy never to be considered except as the enemy of what is by far more powerful, the dream of finding a love that can exude even more love from within to without. Projected in the spirit of Fellini, where his medium was so often also the message, the wonder and light of the cinema overcomes the darkness and bitterness of the concrete world.
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A beautifully done tribute to Fellini
acreativeforce6 April 2018
In Search of Fellini was beautifully done. Every moment of the actors' lines and scenes were authentic. The entire cast did very well in their roles, from the film extras to the lead roles. Peter Arpesella as Fellini's assistant was also very well done.

Ksenia Solo was a delight to watch as the isolated, painfully shy, innocent, and vulnerable Lucy. Enrico Oetiker as Pietro lit up the screen with his natural charisma and quiet intensity. Enrico did not have much overall screen time, but made a strong and lasting impression. Maria Bello as Lucy's mother and Mary Lyn Rajskub as Kerri were wonderfully acted.

The love interests in this film share an onscreen chemistry that is rare. Their connection was natural, organic, and profound. There are moments in this film that remind me of the unmatched magic like quality of the many Italian classics I have enjoyed. The film score flows seamlessly within this movie and is just the right complement to the action and often is quite moving. The film is not necessarily fantasy and not quite realistic, but somewhere in between...perfect for a Fellini inspired film and very well done tribute to a master.
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Kevin Kevin30 January 2018
I'm so happy that people say there are flaws in this film, because I've always thought that people were seeing problems where there are none and mistaking problems for answers. Finally.
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American sounding Italians
toutbien2 April 2018
Lucy"s first boyfriend, random people in the street, Fellini's assistant Mario - they all seem to be Americans speaking English with, well, Italianish accents. It's very distracting. I appreciate that it's an American movie. But since Fellini is used as a sort of muse in the film, some authenticity would be nice.
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For fans of Italy and Fellini films
bettycjung25 March 2018
3/24/18. If you love Italy and Fellini, you will enjoy this quirky coming-of-age film. Solo is the 20 year-old daughter of single mom Bello and niece of aunt Rajskub. Overprotected all her life, she is suddenly forced to grow up when Bello discovers she is dying from cancer and can't face the fact of not being able to protect Solo from that reality. Solo goes to Italy in search of the director Fellini and while there loses a lot of her innocence that Bello can no longer protect her from. Along the way you will get to enjoy great Italian scenery in several cities, interspersed with Fellini clips and interactions between Bello and Rajskub as they deal with Bello's health issues and learning about what was so fascinating about Fellini's film.
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