Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:33 am 
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VALERIA BRUNI TEDESCHI, MICAELA RAMAZOTTI IN LIKE CRAZY

PAOLO VIRZÌ: LIKE CRAZY (2016): US DVD release Sept. 2017

A wild and amusing ride that grows a little thin

Some comments from the reviews of this film that is now coming out on DVD:

Though typecast, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi takes the role and runs with it - check.
Possessing a deliriously loquacious script - check.
The film's freewheeling energy is appealing - check.
Virzì...keeps the jam-packed film moving apace with a whirlwind of high-wire emotionality - check.
Seems to be replicating the experience of having a manic episode - check.
Energetic, visually attractive but ultimately aggravating - check.


This Italian drama by Paolo Virzì, whose 2014 feature, Human Capital, provided Bruni Tedeschi her best role in years, this time focuses on a "liberal," "enlightened" mental institution and two inmates who run away and have fun. The manic, commanding Beatrice (Bruni Tedeschi), who is from a wealthy family that she at least thinks donated the lovely Tuscan villa, Villa Biondi, where they're housed, takes in tow newcomer Donatella (Micaela Ramazzotti), a depressed, tattooed woman from a criminal background who serves as a sounding board for her nonstop monologues spinning dreams of grandeur, some of which may once have been true. And as in four or five other features, Bruni Tedeschi's real mother, Marisa Borini, turns up, playing Beatrice's mother.

This duologue caper allows Virzì to play with some of Italians' charms that can also wear thin. They're represented in the lenient institution that allows Beatrice and Donatella to go out with other patients to work in a commercial nursery. The director is comically, but believably, indecisive, the nun indulgent, the other staff motherly and kind - but they allow a disaster to happen. One may wonder, how crazy is society? How crazy is Italian society? And isn't it bad taste, unfair to crazy people, to draw such parallels? One may ponder the thought, that rationality and good sense are dull. The film, in Bruni Tedeschi's spirited performance, makes insanity seductive, with its refuge in ever-spiraling fantasy. But one also longs for the stability, the illusion, of sanity, of "reality." And you wonder, isn't the "real" Valeria Bruni Tedeschi rather crazy?

A shortcoming of the movie is that the one patient is too manic and the other too withdrawn for them to engage meaningfully with each other, and hence the human drama remains at a superficial level. It's all just a caper, just a fling. For forty minutes it's amusing and that's something. Many movies don't make it that far. But this one has another 78 minutes to go after that, and Beatrice's charm wears thin: she was abrasive and obtrusive to begin with, so there's going to need to be something important to distract us from that and hold our interest, but that something doesn't come, though there is one thing after another, a giddy, gossipy train of incidents. Virzì's capacity for non-stop dialogue is awesome, and both lead actresses give terrific performances.

Like Crazy/La pazza gioia, 118 mins.,in Italian, debuted at Directors Fortnight, Cannes, May 2016. A dozen other fests, US theatrical release (NYC) 5 May 2017. New on US DVD from Strand Releasing 5 Sept. 2017.

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