Saturday 16 December 2023

Movie Review: Made In Italy (2020)

Genre: Father-Son Drama Comedy
Director: James D'Arcy
Starring: Liam Neeson, Lindsay Duncan, Micheál Richardson, Valeria Bilello
Running Time: 93 minutes

Synopsis: In London, Jack (Micheál Richardson) is going through a divorce and needs to raise funds for an art gallery purchase. He convinces his reclusive and formerly famous artist father Robert Foster (Liam Neeson, Micheál's real-life dad) to sell the Tuscany villa they co-own. In Italy, real estate agent Kate (Lindsay Duncan) advises Jack and Robert that they need to repair the derelict property before it can sell. As the work proceeds, Jack meets local divorced restaurateur Natalia (Valeria Bilello), while father and son start to confront the many unspoken issues between them.

What Works Well: The familiar male inability to properly communicate and express emotions anchors the drama, while most of the moments of humour, many revolving around an angry wall-sized painting at the villa, find their target. The Tuscany locations are idyllic, Liam Neeson carries the tortured artist load with suitable annoyance, and the running time is short and sweet.

What Does Not Work As Well: Almost all the underlying issues - divorce, death, guilt, disappointment -  are familiar in the extreme, and layered onto a traditional father-son relationship defined by self-applied inadequacy, emotional abandonment, and mistrust. The only surprise is the almost complete absence of originality. Some of the climactic moments are theatrically cringey.

Conclusion: Made with conviction but lacking inventiveness.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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