Dir: Giuseppe Tornatore
Sentimental tribute to moviemaking and nostalgia. There is so much to like in the movie. Any movie buff will relish the celebration of the medium and the cultural importance of the movie watching experience. And the move is technically wonderful, with a great depth of narrative, wonderful set design, and a truly moving score. It is perfect for the movie, both flourishingly emotional and evocative of the very time period is cinema that this movie celebrates.
But on first viewing, it the is the love story that stands out over everything else. The movie's third and final act, where a middle aged Toto returns home to confront his pain and lost love is one of the most resonant last hours to a movie I have seen in quite a while. The conversation between Toto and his mother is so honest, and so well supported by the preceeding acts of the film, that it is genuinely moving. The resolution of the love story, as well, has an honesty and nuance that tells us something about our own complicated experiences. Very well written stuff, right in the moments that separate good movies from great ones.
Classic cinema is the subject, and this movie is a very worthy entry into that genre.
Now a question for my faithful reader: I had never seen the movie. I chose the director's cut on the first go round. Now, for lots of movies this is a slam dunk (Touch of Evil, say) where the director's cut corrects obvious studio errors. But the theatrical release of this one won the Oscar. Should I have gone with the original first?