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Critics reviews
Mia madre
Nanni Moretti Italy, 2015
The drama of the film is the drama of attempting to make a film while facing life—and of attempting to live something like a normal life while making a movie. Moretti leaps beyond the mere daily practicalities of Margherita’s life, filling the movie with Margherita’s memories, fantasies, and musings. He slips gracefully in and out of time frames and reality frames and rendering her dreams with an insinuatingly quiet power that’s amplified by their unexaggerated practical naturalism.
August 28, 2016
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Barry—the buffoonish foil of the film set, equally endearing and annoying—ends up coming across as a more complex and conflicted personality than Margherita, the gender-swapped writer-director stand-in who’s in every scene. Maybe it’s because the droll, bearded Moretti—who plays a smaller role here as Margherita’s brother, Giovanni—is the best fit for his own brand of pokey neurosis. But even with a weak center, Mia Madre manages its share of grace notes.
August 25, 2016
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Mr. Moretti, who has a supporting role as Margherita’s brother, plays with different performance styles throughout “Mia Madre,” with Ms. Lazzarini delivering a minimalist, naturalistic turn that pulls you in and Mr. Turturro going gloriously large and loud in a performance that seems calibrated to remind you that you’re watching a movie.
August 25, 2016
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The film’s concept is blunt, but Moretti’s follow-through is tender and nuanced. Mia Madre is a sad little film, and also a very funny one — which isn’t so contradictory when the subject is the very inability to match thought and action, vision and reality.
August 23, 2016
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After the seemingly unbeatable heights of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin and George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, Nanni Moretti gave us the greatest, stand-out movie of the year, about a director (Margherita Buy) managing a difficult shoot while her mother slowly dies—tender, surprising, daringly constructed on a rigorous alternation of dramatic and comedic scenes, and always finding moments of absolute grace in even the most crushing situations.
November 23, 2015
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If we like certain cinéastes, it’s firstly because of this: they don’t tell us ‘stories’, but instead share with us that which is the most intimate that goes through them… Rarely has a film since Nanni Moretti’s Mia madre so well described the misfortune of these children that want to do well but who don’t know how.
November 01, 2015
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Visually or thematically, it has no intention to disrupt its audiences or get them to question their own notions about death and mourning. Nor does it need to: Moretti’s film is no less personal for being straightforward in its aims, sketching a fleet portrait of the difficulties of balancing personal challenges and professional goals… It’s a movie about death that feels imbued with vivid life.
September 27, 2015
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Mia Madre is carefully measured and satisfying, albeit occasionally deaf-tone, suite of fleeting, dispersed impressions, some as delicate as an empty yogurt cup by Margherita’s mother’s hospital bed, or an image of elderly hands being massaged and caressed. While some of Moretti’s films are talky and even occasionally sly, this one’s written in a minor key.
September 27, 2015
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This time the death is far from unpredictable: that of the elderly ailing mother of the protagonist Margherita, a film director played by Margherita Buy. Yet for all that it’s expected – right from the start of the film we can guess that Ada (Giulia Lazzarini) will be dead by the end of it – it’s no less moving, not least because of the strong autobiographical element.
September 24, 2015
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The duelling storylines of the dying mother and the dying movie have very little overlap, which prompts the feeling that Moretti has decided to make a movie inspired by reality rather than invent a rich story that offers up relevance beyond the literal. One single shot of the madre’s room post-departure, with books and affects in boxes, her Earthly legacy awaiting pick up and potential destruction, speaks louder and more eloquently than this earnest film as a whole.
September 23, 2015
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Nanni Moretti’s latest My Mother (Mia Madre) closed the festival on a high note, with its deftly rendered balance of pathos and broad comedy.
September 15, 2015
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45 Years is a mature film, fiercely so, which reminds me of something said by a friend: The works you need to stay away from aren’t the youthful or mature ones, but the middle-aged ones. As if on cue, [Mia madre] materializes. Maybe that’s too harsh. It’s difficult to get too angry at a film that, after all, aims to address the kind of familial fears we’ve at one point or another experienced or at least thought about. Actually, it’s difficult to get tooanything at it, which is the problem.
September 12, 2015
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The construction of the film is quite subtle and beautiful: the chaos of the movie within the movie, keeping everything on track and every detail in the right order, merges with the fear brought about by death, of the order of things disturbed and thrown forever off course. Mia Madre is a sharp, sobering, fitfully funny and surprising film about the sadness of losing a loved one, the jolting realization that death is not coming someday but now, and the fragility of existence itself.
July 01, 2015
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With music cues that seem obvious at first but work every time (Arvo Part, Leonard Cohen) and a Turturro performance – including a hilarious goofball dance – that acts overacting out of the park, but counterpoints the theme of grieving nicely, My Mother is like the friend you only appreciate after they’ve gone home.
May 25, 2015
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While Mia Madre explores how families, like films, can be defined by an auteur (be it mother or daughter), this subtext is muted. Resultingly, there’s a strange divide in tonality between serious and silly (often portrayed by Turturro’s buffoon of a character) that Moretti never solves. Still, Buy’s performance reservedly confronts a scary and insecure psychological place, slightly elevating the film beyond the realm of mediocre arthouse drama.
May 20, 2015
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This movie has moved people I love and respect. I found it embarrassing. It’s scattered and too interested in Turturro’s mugging, which is simultaneously the best and most flagrant thing about the movie. He’s stealing from an old, dying lady. Moretti can break your heart and he can dance on your last nerve.
May 18, 2015
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For all the troubled dreams that Margherita has and the love they infer, she is a woman voluntarily caught up in the machinery of life and unwilling to take a meaningful sabbatical to engage with the tempo of approaching death. The film suffers from the same mixed-up priorities. What should be a moving, even if neglected, relationship plays like an underdeveloped subplot.
May 16, 2015
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Perhaps Moretti is at his best when dealing with the question of how best to deal with the inevitable mortality of ourselves and our loved ones; certainly My Mother (Mia Madre), which deals very directly with that theme, is his finest since The Son’s Room… Moretti manages to use the music of Arvo Pärt in a way that doesn’t, for once, feel tired and clichéd. Mia Madre has a great many virtues, but if only for that rare feat, we should be truly thankful.
May 16, 2015
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Turturro goes way over the top, as he often does, but his brash energy is a welcome counterpart to the morose melodrama surrounding the dying matriarch, which Moretti conveys via an incoherent jumble of fantasy, flashbacks, blatant symbolism, and (arriving at one point from nowhere, never to be heard again) voiceover narration.
May 16, 2015
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Margherita’s failure to elaborate on her grief is mirrored in Moretti’s failure to construct a coherent film where the spectator can find a way into its meaning, rather than being caught in a confused web of suggestions, half-baked ideas and circular exposition. The mediocre film Margherita is working on ends up reminiscing the equally disappointing film Moretti has made.
May 15, 2015
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