Cinema Paradiso ★★★★½

Heart-warming, nostalgic, genuinely touching, funny, and sad, "Cinema Paradiso" resonates both emotionally and intellectually with the viewer. The story of youth, friendship, coming of age, and love centers on two compelling characters and touches on the tasks of a movie-theater projectionist. A celebration of the power of movies and understandably a true cinematic classic, this film is a great one, with the wonderful first part arguably being the strongest.

Expertly composed, memorable opening scene. The kissing-scenes montage at the end is undeniably powerful, and it is difficult to imagine a better way to end the movie.

Giuseppe Tornatore’s masterful direction is evident throughout the picture. The beautiful cinematography and set pieces, Ennio Morricone’s first-rate score, and the picturesque Italian setting create a strong, almost tangible atmosphere that immerses the viewer in the film.

Salvatore Cascio is excellent in the role of Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita as a child, and the same goes for Philippe Noiret, who plays Alfredo, the projectionist; they have many nice scenes together. Convincing acting by the other cast members, including Marco Leonardi as Toto as a teenager and Jacques Perrin as the adult Toto.