Who Would Have Thought?

Who Would Have Thought?

That a six-hour, subtitled Italian movie (that began life as a mini-series for Italian television) would turn out to be the best thing I’ve seen since I can’t remember when. I wanted to see The Best of Youth  last year when it was in the theaters, but it never played in Montana, and I didn’t think my stepmother would want to spend a whole day at the movies when I visited her in Seattle last spring. I’ve been just exhausted lately — there’s been sort of a spate of personal crises, and I’ve just been getting crushed at work with an avalanche of deadlines. I even had to take a nap on Saturday — I’m not a napper, but after spreading some bark mulch around the raised vegetable beds, I found myself curled up on the couch with Owen-the-dog and just passed out for an hour and  a half. Needless to say, this meant I didn’t go out much this weekend — and so on Saturday night I figured I’d see if The Best of Youth was as good as all the reviews had said it was. I’m every filmmakers worst nightmare when it comes to rented movies — I read, or surf the net, or knit — I rarely just sit and watch the movie. But this one — well, I couldn’t read or surf because I don’t speak Italian, so I had to pay attention, but considering how long this movie is, it never drags. Every scene feels crucial, and the characters are so interesting and flawed and complicated that watching them react to one another, and to the situations in which they find themselves, and to the politics of the times — well it was like the best sort of big fat novel but on the screen. Two days later I’m still thinking about Nicola and Matteo and Guilia and Mirella …

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