A review of “Remember Me, My Love” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ***

Rating: NR, but should be PG-13 for mature themes and language

Run Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes. In Italian with English subtitles

 

 

There’s nothing quite like a meaty Italian drama, chock full of flailing hands and passionate histrionics.  Gabriele Muccino’s (The Last Kiss) middle-class family production borders on false bravado but ultimately satisfies.

The Ristuccia’s nuclear family is coming apart at the seams.  Mom Giulia and Dad Carlo (Laura Morante and Fabrizio Bentivoglio) have kissed their dreams goodbye and settled for the staid existence of the contemporary worker bee.  Their surly teenagers Valentina (Nicoletta Romanoff) and Paolo (Silvio Muccino) rule the roost, driving their parents mad with immature posturings and selfish demands.

When it blows it blows big.  Giulia is offered a job on the stage, and finds that she can’t let go of that distant seed of ambition.  Carlo, a financier cum frustrated novelist, meets an old flame at a party (Monica Bellucci) then re-kindles the friendship into something fierier and perhaps permanent.

While her folks are struggling to find themselves, star-struck Valentina auditions for a popular TV show and unexpectedly lands the job.  Paolo’s simple wish is for a girlfriend, and for his volatile family members to acknowledge his plight.

The fissures of unhappiness widen to chasms; a family that was already adrift has trouble finding its way back to shore.  Though well-crafted and elegantly tuned, the story is often so familiar that it feels stale.  But Muccino cunningly plays his characters as a unit and as individuals, allowing for a continual series of dramatic vignettes.

Though billed as a love story, Remember is anything but. Its sketchy values speak of disillusionment, resignation, and playing the card that may be your last. Not a glowing tribute to matrimony, but definitely worth a look.