Our Life / La nostra vita (2010)

4.0 out of 5

Another example of contemporary Italian cinema out-doing most other continents in presenting family dramas with intelligence, mature performances, and nonexistent melodrama. Fine actor Valerio Mastandrea should look over his shoulder, as Elio Germano plays the intense, Mastandrea-esque character here, a widower/parent who juggles debts, loneliness, and too many unsavory criminal elements. A knockout performance.

The lengths director Daniele Luchetti goes to in keeping his movie realistic, engrossing, and free of cheap-shot narrative tricks or phony comedy relief is proof that Italians make modern movies about adults without over-the-top stereotypes. This is not a diluted story featuring Americanized, lusty dagos who, when not singing pizza-pie tarantellas, are stuffing their faces with pasta in between loud fits of lovemaking.

If one needs a casting metaphor to illustrate the movie's offbeat nature, Italian hunk Raoul Bova appears as a frumpy, 40-something bachelor cop. A solid piece of work, and very emotionally satisfying. But prepare to be saddened.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics