Remember Me, My Love
(Ricordati di mi)

foreign films

Remember Me, My Love (Ricordati di mi)
Made in: Italy
Language: Italian
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Starring: Laura Morante, Monica Bellucci, Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Nicoletta Romanoff, Silvio Muccino
Year: 2003

Synopsis: The Ristuccia family lives in a mellow middle-class neighborhood, but their seemingly stable lives are full of brewing troubles. Carlo (Fabrizio Bentivoglio), although financially successful, has lost passion in his life. He goes around his daily routine with a blank expression on his face, looking like a worn-out turtle most of the time.

His wife, Giulia (Laura Morante), was once an aspiring actress who gave up her dreams to take care of family. Now working as a school teacher, she regrets it.

Their children are headed for problems too. Paulo Ristuccia (Silvio Muccino), the oldest, is full of insecurities. He's a gutless chump around women and is desperate to be liked. And 17 year-old Valentina Ristuccia (Nicoletta Romanoff), who yearns to be a famous dancer, is willing to subject herself to a number of indignities in order to make it big.

To feel alive again, Giulia begins auditioning for a role in a play put on by a local theater group. But things quickly go off the rails when Carlo begins secretly seeing Alessia (Monica Bellucci), an old flame from his youth. Oh, and she's married already too.

Ain't love grand?

The Good: Universal themes and great acting. Laura Morante, and of course Monica Bellucci, stand out. Laura Morante is highly convincing as a frustrated spouse, and does an amazing job playing an actress.

Director Gabriele Muccino also structures the film in an effective way. The son and daughter, both yearning to be loved, become mirror images of their parents while feeling more and more alienated from them. The examination of the suburban dysfunctional family isn't strikingly original, but Remember Me, My Love has enough personality to make it a little less generic-looking.

The Bad: The part of the story dealing with Valentina seems incomplete. Without giving away too much, there doesn't seem to be much of a resolution to the potential seediness of her situation.

The familiarity of the subject matter will make Remember Me, My Love seem predictable to more sophisticated viewers. It's also a very long, relatively slow-paced movie.

Who would like this movie: Apart from fans of Italian foreign films, you'll like this movie if you like movies about dysfunctional families. It's not too different from movies like Sam Mendes' American Beauty in terms of subject matter. There are some genuinely humorous moments. Although it's solid story-wise, I can't say that it's the most spectacular contribution to the genre.

(2 and 1/2 stars out of 4)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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