Remember Me, My Love

(Recordati di Me)

After watching The Last Kiss, the last from Italian Gabriele Muccino, one could have very high hopes for his next film, Remember Me, My Love.  In a way, this film is a thematic continuation of the first one.  The characters in The Last Kiss were uncertain about marriage, and now, the characters are pondering if there is anything left after years of marriage and two children.  But the tone of Remember Me, My Love is so over-the-top and melodramatic that it effectively ruins the deeper emotional impact of this family in crisis.  The whole films plays out like a soap opera.  A well-written one that explores characters issues more in-depth than usual, but still a soap opera, and a loud one at that.

The Ristuccia's are falling apart.  They are so busy with their own lives that they are not a family, just four people living in the same house.  Carlo (Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Jailbreak, Hotel) works at a boring job.  At one point, he dreamt of writing a book.  For years, he left his novel unfinished, failing to work on the last chapter.  His wife Giulia (Laura Morante, The Dancer Upstairs, Hotel) is a bored schoolteacher, who once was a promising actress.  Their son Paolo (Silvio Muccino, CQ, The Last Kiss) is highly insecure and just wants to get laid, and their daughter Valentina (Nicoletta Romanoff) aspires to break into acting by landing a role as a dancer on television.  Then, for no reason, everything begins to change.

Carlo meets Alessia (Monica Bellucci, She Hate Me, The Passion of the Christ), an old flame.  She rekindles in him his zest for life that is now missing from his marriage and encourages him to restart the work on his novel.  He finds himself having an affair with her, and he really doesn't seem to mind that Giulia is distraught over this.  Meanwhile, a friend encourages Giulia to take a role in small play.  She does, and although she is wracked with insecurity, finds herself happy at the challenge (of course the subject of the play just happens to mirror the turmoil in her relationship).  Paolo decides to throw a big party to try to convince one of his friends that he wants to be more than friends, and Valentina begins sleeping her way up the Italian entertainment ladder (the primary purpose of Romanoff is to parade around in next to nothing).

As the family disintegrates around them, Giulia does her best to keep them together.  It's a nice performance by Morante and the rest of the cast, but Muccino, who co-wrote the script with Heidrun Schleef, The Son's Room, A Journey Called Love) make everybody so shrill and self-absorbed that Remember Me, My Love quickly turns to a sour note.  The fact that the characters are shallow is not that big a deal, but all they do is yell at each other and then go back to their own separate lives.  Worse is the annoying, almost fairy-tale like narration that bookends the movie, and a deus ex machina thrown in to swing the plot towards its confusion.  Muccino never delves into why these people are moving apart.  He uses this arbitrary event to bring the movie to a close, resulting in a superficial glance at movie that deserves closer inspection.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.

2 hours, 4 minutes, Italian with English subtitles, Not Rated but contains language, sensuality, drug use, and some minor nudity, most likely an R.

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