Naughty aka Juli Norwood’s review published on Letterboxd:
Director Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso is kind of like a "Once Upon A Time" story! Back in the day in order to see a film you had to venture out to your local cinema! In fact it was a pretty big deal and was considered an integral part of life in any given community! It was a place of magic for it brought joy and wonder into everyones lives! When the tears fell there was always someone there with hanky in hand to dry your eyes!
When movie night came around everyone was one big happy family.. It was the great equalizer.. financial, social, political, religious differences be damned! Now that didn't mean there weren't pranks or fun to be had at someone elses expense that would be far too much to ask of anyone! But nothing you wouldn't experience at any given holiday with a house full of rambunctious relatives lollygagging about! Some of which you regret inviting but you know deep down you'd miss them something awful if they weren't there! The very same sentiment fellow movie goers in the film have for one another!
The Cinema was a place to socialize, a place to meet your future wife or hubby, it was a place that offered escape from the drudgery of every day life, it was a place that offered a communal cathartic release by way of laughter and tears! It was the source of local news and gossip! Together the audience partakes in journeys encountering experiences they would not otherwise experience outside of the cinema! It is through Cinema that we are transported to far off places, distant worlds and different periods in time! For many the cinema is our armchair travel guide, teacher, mentor and best friend!
At the heart of the story is the precocious, mischievious imp Toto! Whom channels the inner child within us all! For the duration of the film we live vicariously through the eyes of Toto! Quite frankly I couldn't think of a better guide to take me on such a nostalgic heartwarming journey!