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Massimo's idyllic childhood is shattered by the death of his mother. Years later, he is forced to relive his traumatic past and compassionate doctor Elisa could help him open up and confront his childhood wounds.
Back from the hospital where he has been treated after a heart attack, Lorenzo is on his way upstairs to his top-floor apartment in Naples when he meets Michela. The charming young woman, who has just moved to the facing apartment, has forgotten her keys and finds herself locked out. Cynical and grumpy, the retired lawyer who has been living estranged from the rest of the world, should normally leave her to her fate but he mellows under her spontaneous charm. He helps her, becomes friends not only with her but with her husband Fabio and their two children. For once, the self-declared misanthropist seems to be experiencing the long forgotten feeling of empathy.Written by
It's rare to find a film with such a complex argument that holds attention for two hours and avoids all the pitfalls of sentiment - and cynicism. I would class this one as must see.
After his Porte Aperte and Lamerica, two of the most impressive European films of the last decades I was looking forward to a new Gianni Amelio and I wasn't wrong.
Tenerezza /Tenderness is not a big statement like those. It's a careful account of the life of retired Neapolitan lawyer Amelio regular Renato Carpentieri, first found pulling out his drips and leaving hospital. His daughter Giovanna Mezzogiorno asks whether he was honest and a clerk tells her "It's hard to be a good lawyer and honest too."
We kick off with Mezzogiorno making an unappealing entrance ratting out the Arab in the glassed in court room dock she's translating for. Even her own child doesn't much like her. However after we've spent two hours with her father we understand her a whole lot better - one of the film's many surprises and a considerable achievement.
Any description will be a spoiler. The film's impact depends on its unpredictability. Greta Scacchi's character provides one real shock.
A couple more super stars of the current Italian cinema, Micaela Ramazzotti and Elio Germano figure and the 'scope camera-work is Luca Bigazzi again, here in top form. It's all a class act.
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