Made in Italy review – autobiographical poignancy from Liam Neeson and son | Film

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The big, unique selling point of this somewhat sappy but quite watchable feature is that the two main roles – a charismatic, widowed artist named Robert and his handsome but still finding-his-feet-careerwise son Jack – are played by Liam Neeson and his real-life son, up-and-coming actor Micheál Richardson. In the film, Robert’s wife/Jack’s mother died tragically young in a car accident. This, of course, parallels the death of Neeson’s real-life wife/Richardson’s mother, Natasha, from injuries incurred during a skiing accident when her sons were still in their teens.

Knowing all this adds a certain frisson to the climactic scene where father and son have it out about the different ways they handled the late woman’s death. But the lack of finesse, in scriptwriting terms, with which the emotional punch is landed robs the scene of the impact it deserves. Elsewhere, the yarn is more entertaining as an uber-bougie slice of property porn about the two men bonding as they fix up, with ludicrously obvious symbolism, the palatial Tuscan house they inherited from Jack’s late mother. Jack, it transpires, wants to sell the place so he can buy an art gallery he ran for his own ex-wife’s family.

Obviously, he’s going to be tempted away from that path by the golden sunlight of the region and the charms of pretty local woman Natalia (Valeria Bilello); the kind of restaurant owner who, unlike any real-life restaurateur, doesn’t seem to need to spend much time at her establishment, leaving her lots of free hours to float about in tea dresses and hang out with the visiting menfolk from London painting walls. Realism is clearly not a strong suit for writer-director James D’Arcy, but he gets pretty good comic performances from his likeable cast, which includes Lindsay Duncan as an acerbic estate agent.

Made in Italy is released on 26 March on Amazon Prime Video.

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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Made in Italy review – autobiographical poignancy from Liam Neeson and son | Film

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