Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 2001
USA: ThinkFilm
UK: Verve Pictures
Cast: Stefano Accorsi, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Stefania Sandrelli, Marco Cocci, Pierfrancesco Favino, Sabrina Impacciatore, Regina Orioli, Giorgio Pasotti, Daniela Piazza, Claudio Santamaria, Martina Stella, Luigi Diberti, Piero Natoli, Vittorio Amandola, Alberto Alemanno, Lina Bernardi, Giulia Carmignani, Sergio Castellitto, Carmen Consoli, Maria Dolores Genolini, Susanna Javicoli, Silvio Muccino, Ines Nobili, Giulia Steigerwalt
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Country: Italy
Language: Italian (English subtitles)
USA & UK: 115 mins
USA Rated: R for language, sexuality and some drug use
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language and soft drugs use
USA Release Date: 2 August 2002 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 27 February 2004
(in Italian)

Afraid that growing up means growing old and settling down means just plain settling, Carlo (Stefano Accorsi), a young, handsome and predictably predatory male, is on a modern-day quest. Desperate to keep passion and novelty in his life at any cost, he has mixed feelings about having a baby with his beautiful and newly pregnant live-in lover, Giulia (Giovanna Mezzogiorno). They sidestep issues of "commitment" by refusing to get married. After all, marriage signals the end of youth, freedom, happiness and everything good in life. Carlo's best friend, Adriano (Giorgio Pasotti), is a perfect example. He complains constantly about his marriage to Livia (Sabrina Impacciatore), certain that the birth of their baby - and all the responsibilities that go with it - has ruined everything. Even Giulia's mother Anna (Stefania Sandrelli), a wife and mother for the past twenty-nine years, suddenly stunned by the idea of impending grandmotherhood, wants to escape from her stale relationship with her seemingly indifferent husband.

Carlo welcomes temptation in the form of Francesca (Martina Stella), a charming and seductive eighteen year-old who approaches him at his best friend's wedding and re-acquaints him with a long-forgotten emotion - lust. Similarly, Anna experiences her own awakening, running away from her husband and marriage to search for the elusive romance that will make her feel young one last time.

While Carlo and Anna play out their quixotic fantasies, with Carlo pursuing his nubile teenager and Anna hoping for a reconciliation with a long-lost love, henpecked Adriano joins his friends Paolo (Claudio Santamaria) and Alberto (Marco Cocci) as they plot their far-fetched escape from the unpleasant realities of their lives. Alberto feels trapped by a never-ending succession of one-night stands with irrelevant women, his defense against commitment, while Paolo is unhappy because his father is dying and the one woman he loves has rejected him. Their immature, but highly effective, solution is to run away, buying a dilapidated camper that will take them far away from their problems.

Carlo's bumbling attempts at a surreptitious affair are quickly detected by Giulia, who makes it clear that she would rather live without him than tolerate his infidelity. His first response is to take advantage of his freedom by spending the night with Francesca, seizing the opportunity to enjoy one last chance at freedom before parenthood (and the marriage that will inevitably follow) forever seals his fate as a "grown-up." Ironically, Carlo realizes that he prefers the comfortable reality of his relationship with Giulia to the wild passion he experiences with Francesca. In a roundabout way, Anna reaches the same conclusion. A little older, a little wiser and better equipped to live and love in the moment, Carlo finally accepts the happy ending life has dealt him.

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