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Italian director Gabriele Muccino (THE LAST KISS) directs this tale of a modern family who is on the verge of unravelling. On the surface, the Ristuccia family appears to have it all; Carlo (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) has a well-paying, secure job; Giulia (Laura Morante) is getting more beautiful with age; 18-year-old Valentina (Nicoletta Romanoff) has dreams of dancing stardom; and 19-year-old Paolo (Silvio Muccino) has fallen in love. But, as is the case with most things in life, desperation and hopelessness lie just around the corner. When Carlo bumps into a former flame (Monica Bellucci), the floodgates of passion are opened. Meanwhile, the other characters must confront demons of their own. After a near-fatal tragedy, the family is finally forced to confront its downward spiral.
Muccino's bittersweet drama critically yet empathetically captures the lives of these tender souls. He uses sweeping Steadicam cinematography to reflect the swirling emotions within each character, and layers the picture with stacks of pop music. But Muccino's greatest talent lies in casting. As the conflicted Carlo, Bentivoglio shines, while Romanoff and Muccino (the director's brother) are completely natural in their roles. But the film's real standouts are Morante and Bellucci, two of the world's most beautiful actresses, who somehow manage to present themselves with a heartbreakingly believable fragility.