NOSTALGIA – A Review by John Strange
A man returns to his hometown, Naples, Italy, after being away for forty years. Felice Lasco (Pierfrancesco Favino) comes home to see his mother, Teresa (Aurora Quattrocchi). Once there he must face why he left and the conditions his mother was living in.
Felice was a bit of a wild kid in his youth, running around with his best friend Oreste Spasiano (Tommaso Ragno). Oreste, now referred to as Badman, is the head of the criminal element in that part of town.
Feli’ spends a lot of time getting his momma into a better home all the while giving us flashbacks of his youth as he wanders the town. He decides he wants to make his return permanent.
There is palpable tension between Badman and Don Luigi, the local Catholic priest. Feli’ finds himself drawn to the priest who ministered to his mother all the while he is trying to get a meeting with Oreste.
We get to see a side of Naples not shown in most movies. Every town has a depressed section (or sections). Felice is from one. Crime is up and jobs are difficult to find. Don Luigi is diligently striving to save as many of the local youth as he can. Thus, one of the reasons for the strife between the church and Badman.
The acting is very good. The cinematography by Paolo Carnera is well-planned and executed. Combining this with Carmine Guarino’s production design gave us a good feel for this depressed section of town without making it a major character in the storyline. The soundtrack is also excellent, keeping us in the correct mood as the scenes went from nostalgia to confrontations and back again.
Ninety-eight percent of this film is worthy of at least 4 stars as a film of a man coming home, facing his past, and preparing for his future. The ending broke my heart despite the fact that the director telegraphed it. The ending dropped my rating down to 2 stars but in honor of the bulk of the film, I’ll rate this film 3.5 stars.
Director: Mario Martone
Cast: Pierfrancesco Favino, Francesco Di Leva, Tommaso Ragno, Aurora Quattrocchi, Sofia Essaïdi, Nello Mascia, Emanuele Palumbo, Artem, Salvatore Striano, Virginia Apicella, Daniela Ioia, Luciana Zazzera, Giuseppe D’Ambrosio
MPAA Rating: NR
Selig Rating: 3.5 Stars
Runtime: 117 Min.
Theatrical Release Date: 01/27/2023
VOD/Digital Release Date: 02/21/2023
Language: Italian (with English Subtitles)
Trailer: NOSTALGIA Trailer
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.