Carlo (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) and Giulia (Laura Morante) have been married for almost 20 years but are finding it hard going, wary of each other and disconnected. His first and only novel is still unfinished and his workmates are irritating; her life seems unfulfilled since she gave up acting, and their teenage children are difficult. The younger, Paolo (Silvio Muccino), is insecure and 18 year old Valentina (Nicoletta Romanoff) is ambitious to become a tits and arse tv game show dancer. When Carlo runs into his old flame, Alessia (Monica Bellucci), he quickly falls for her again, just as Giulia is flirting with a return to theatre - and a gay director. The teenagers struggle with their self esteem, as Carlo's affair rips into the marriage, but an accident brings him back to earth - and to his family. Or does it?
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Stuffed with talent, Remember Me is the work of Gabriele Muccino, who gave us the enjoyable romantic comedy with much to say, The Last Kiss. This film is a thematic cousin to that, dealing with the intensity of relationships under stress from deceit. Of course, the deceit is triggered by underlying problems, and one of the flaws of this screenplay is that these underlying problems are reduced to simplifications and clichees. The age of the marriage has taken its toll, they are both unfulfilled and leeched of their passion, etc. The story doesn't satisfy, either, with the ending emotionally confused; having set up one thing, Muccino dives off into ambiguity.
To make matters worse, neither Carlo nor Giulia are real characters, and what there is of them is not likeable. He is nondescript and she's shrill. His one moment of high emotion is a tantrum at work when he storms out. It's not the acting at fault, but the writing and the direction.
Muccino's tight use of the camera doesn't replace a tight script: always moving, sometimes hand-held, the camerawork tries to generate the tension that is missing in the screenplay. The opening sequence takes us across a city scape, closing in to the neighbourhood, down to the apartment and finally the bedrooms as the narration introduces us to the four members of the family, just about to wake up. One minute before the alarm goes off. We watch closely for how they'll awake. It sets up expectations the film ignores; this isn't a day in the life...
The first half hour is a meandering and tedious series of establishing scenes that go nowhere, and the rest of the film could have been told with greater pace and dynamism in much less time. It may still have been an unsatisfying affair, despite several strong scenes involving the teenage children, both in the home environment and amongst their peers. Nicoletta Romanoff delivers the film's biggest and most complex characterisation as Valentina, the young woman who knows what she wants, and while it isn't politically correct or intellectually amazing, she gets it and savours it. Her family learns a lesson here.
Giulia's return to the theatre in what seems like a pretentious play bogs down the film's action and adds to the laboured feel of this disappointing work from a talented filmmaker.
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REMEMBER ME (M)
(Ricordati di me)
CAST: Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Laura Morante, Nicoletta Romanoff, Monica Bellucci, Silvio Muccino, Gabriele Lavia, Enrico Silverstrin, Silvia Coen, Alberto Gimignani, Amanda Sandrelli
PRODUCER: Domenico Procacci
DIRECTOR: Gabriele Muccino
SCRIPT: Gabriele Muccino, Heidrun Schleef
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Marcello Montarsi
EDITOR: Claudio Di Mauro
MUSIC: Paolo Buonvino, Pacifico
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Paola Bizzarri
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Palace
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Sydney, Melbourne, Perth: September 2, 2004
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: February 9, 2005