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The Crack Magazine



Director: Emanuele Crialese

Stars: Penélope Cruz, Luana Giuliani, Penélope Nieto Conti, Vincenzo Amato

Writer-director Crialese’s family drama is ultra-stylish and undoubtedly heartfelt, but feels underdeveloped. It’s Rome in the 70s and gender dysphoric twelve-year-old Andriana (Giuliani) is struggling with their identity, choosing to identify as Andri (a boy’s name in Italy). Meanwhile Andri’s beloved mother, the glamorous Spanish expat Clara (Cruz) is mentally buckling due to the actions of her unfaithful husband Felice (Amato), but refuses to leave him because of her Catholicism and extended family pressures. Opposite the family apartment, separated by rushes, lies a Roma traveller camp, where Andri meets Sara (Conti) and the two bond over their outsider status. Cruz is typically great, exuding Cinecittà Studio glamour in a series of immaculate 70s outfits, and it is a testament to young Giuliani that she is able to hold her own next to the more established actor. Alas, despite being partly based on the experiences of the director, the picture feels a little slight, and overly dependent on meticulously-fashioned fantasy sequences that are inspired by the trashy TV shows the family watches, including a canny recreation of Adriano Celentano’s nonsensical English language tune and recent viral hit ‘Prisencolinensinainciusol’.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm