Mia madre

Mia madre ★★★½

Despite being a very personal film for Moretti, effectively looking back at the filming of his last film We Have A Pope where his mother passed away, he still manages to take an objective stance, muting what could have been a sweeping emotional recollection. Although the director did use some of his mother's own clothes to dress the actress playing the sick mother, so there was some exercising of ghosts going on during the filming process.

john Turturro's egotistical thespian threatens to steal the show but Moretti uses him sparingly to lighten the mood where needed. There is nice scene in the final act that adds some humanity to his Barry Huggins character, levelling out what we had seen from up until that point. You never lose sight that this is Margherita Buy's film, subtly displaying her inner turmoil, the lineage of grandmother, daughter and granddaughter seen through each other.

You would assume Margherita's character represents Moretti's own experience and perhaps the director himself, playing brother Giovanni (Moretti's first name), is the emotional key to how he truly felt at the time. Giovanni quits what you presume is a well paid job in his fifties and although always there by his mothers side, he finds it hard to keep the wheels turning as his sister does.

What the film really succeeds at is showing how life refuses to wait patiently during the tougher moments we have to face. How resourceful we have to be when dark clouds are all we can see but also how we can surprise ourselves at the same time. Self doubt is something Margherita (and presumably Moretti) tries to batten down daily and it are these small examinations that layer this film in unexpected ways.

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