La Nostra Vita, which can be translated as “Our Life”, is the fourth movie that I selected from the Italian Film Festival line-up this year. I have big expectations on this movie as it was also selected as the opening night movie for the festival this year. I also found out that the movie competed for Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Well, I’m afraid my expectations are not met. Totally. Maybe I’m too picky, but maybe this movie doesn’t deliver.
The premise of the movie is lofty – that love and family are the key to happiness, above wealth and money. Claudio (Elio Germano) has to deal with the loss of his wife Elena (Isabella Ragonese) and manage his three young children. To cope with the loss, he immerses himself in the building project that he’s involved in – asking the construction moghul to appoint him as a sub-contractor. Equipped with his hot-headedness and inexperience, he rapidly amasses large debt – robbing Peter to pay Paul, so to speak – and the prospect of failing the project. At the end, it’s his supporting siblings who bail him out and remind him again of the things that matter in life.
With such a nice storyline, too bad the movie is very uneven – it covers too many grounds and it does so sporadically. It wants to be funny, gritty, touching, and realistic at the same time and none of those elements work. The problems that Claudio faces are solved far too easily, as if the director (Daniele Luchetti) was quite eager to wrap the movie up and to give it a happy ending that he wanted. It could’ve been a wonderful movie, but I’m afraid of the four movies that I have seen from the Italian Film Festival, this could be the dud one.