Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:06 pm 
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Couples troubles

In Io e lei (Me, Myself and Her), Federica (Margherita Buy) and Marina (Sabrina Ferilli) are two accomplished working women who have lived happily in an intimate relationship for five years in an ample, handsomely decorated Roman apartment. Trouble, perhaps long brewing, comes when Federica, who was formerly married and has a college-age son, meets a man who attracts her, and goes off to be with him. Federica, who never wanted to be completely open, has maintained that she was never a lesbian, that Marina is the only woman she has ever been remotely attracted to. Marina thinks the opposite. This is the starting point for something a little new in Italian cinematic history: a lesbian rom-com.

Italian movies today often (not always) suffer from an excess of blandness and this one by Maria Sole Tognazzi (daughter of Ugo), with its rom-com conventions, threatens to sink into blah, especially in its panoramic sequences with soothing pop music. But this is relatively new material for Italy, and it's enlivened by Ferilli's down to earth intensity and its contrast with Buy's subtle restraint. A successful actress now retired for 15 years but tempted to act in a new movie, Marina comes from a working class Roman family of whom we get priceless glimpses. A memorable and hilarious scene is at the family dinner table when they (except for a boy who holds up for her) take Federica apart in absentia for her snobbism and coldness. Buy plays the pain of Federica's indecision well, and the way the accomplished actresses play the contrast between the quiet restraint of one and the earthy intensity of the other give the couple's turmoil a realistic edge.

The feel-good ending is conventional in format but not altogether so in content: gay couples have not always lived happily ever after in movies. The film winds up being a mildly entertaining watch that may have touching echoes particularly for gay audience members who have faced the confusion and uncertainty of being in a serious relationship with a member of the same sex.

Io e lei/Me, Myself and Her will be released 6 Dec.h 2016 in the US and Canada on DVD and VOD (multiple formats, iTunes, Vimeo, etc). by Wolfe On Demand.

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