A thoughtful, kind-hearted, deeply compassionate movie about the plight of the common man that is also, well, kinda boring. It has some really nice moments but a lot of it feels a bit flat to me, lacking that certain punch or panache it needed to win me over. A movie I can respect, while not especially enjoying. It gets a B-.
Quite simply a masterpiece in every way. The acting is heart aching and beautiful and one believes this is life itself. So wonderfully shot and tenderly put together, this film left me speechless. Its enduring power owes much to the father and son relationship, one which is unparalleled and rarely explored and treated as tenderly as it is here. My heart was breaking at the finale, and a little broken still.
I can't deny the masterful potency of Bicycle Thieves, its moral clarity and the way that, although it's arthouse by default today, it could play to a crowd in '48. Part of my skepticism toward Italian neorealism has to do with its legacy, and the way so many modern festival pretenders gild the lily with over-the-top plot contrivances. De Sica's original knows that simple and mundane can have great emotional power.