Monday, December 28, 2020

Movie with Abe: The Best Years

The Best Years
Directed by Gabriele Muccino
Release TBD

Relationships don’t always last forever. People change over time and the world changes with them, and to assume that everyone who gets along at a certain age might continue to do so after considerable life experience just isn’t always correct. There are those who know exactly what they want and can envision spending an eternity together, while others are prone to boredom and want to be surprised by the direction life takes them. In some cases, two people might be perfect for each other at one moment, wrong the next, and ultimately fated to reunite after many years and under completely different circumstances.

In 1980s Italy, Giulio (Francesco Centorame), Ricardo (Matteo De Buono), and Paolo (Andrea Pittorino) are inseparable friends. Paolo meets Gemma (Alma Noce) and is infatuated, and the two begin a romance that is short-lived when she is forced to move away. As the years progress, the four friends (Pierfrancesco Favino, Claudio Santamaria, Kim Rossi Stuart, and Micaela Ramazzotti) find their paths continually crossing as they navigate professional ambition, financial difficulties, rotating romantic entanglements, and the difficulty of achieving dreams.

This is a buoyant, energetic film, one that features strongly-written characters with plenty of passion. The younger cast does a superb job of creating those personalities, building a framework of relationships that seem simultaneously genuine and enhanced for cinematic effect. In their adult forms, they become fleshed-out and even more real, prone to the same setbacks as anyone watching their stories even if their lives may feel fantastical. They are distinctly Italian in the way that they speak, communicate, and argue, imparting their culture in their every interaction.

This film has a fun and wondrous rhythm, one that includes sporadic narration to catch audiences up to the moment in time that it has reached. The entire cast is terrific, with both sets of actors contributing vivid portrayals of these four characters at various points throughout their lives. Noce and Ramazzotti are particularly superb, painting Gemma as someone well aware of the way that men see her and determined to forge her own path, even if she encounters a number of obstacles along the way. Even though its presentation is inherently cinematic, there is a realness to the way in which each relationship – friendship or romantic – encounters difficulties and evolves over time. This film is a highly enjoyable and invigorating showcase of that, running 129 minutes and remaining involving and interesting the entire time.

B+

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