Parents' Guide to


By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Fellini's bawdy coming-of-age film is brilliant but mature.

Movie R 1974 123 minutes
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For coming-of-age films and filmmaker's nostalgic glimpses into their childhoods, Fellini's Amarcord is as good as it gets. These oft-used genres and subject matters become wholly original, bittersweet, and unforgettable. Instead of nostalgia for place (anytime one of the characters, The Lawyer, attempts to lecture the audience on the town's storied history, he is greeted with fart noises or snowballs from fellow townspeople), or time (a scene where townspeople gather to pay tribute to Il Duce transforms into a fantasy sequence where one of the teen boys dreams of marrying the object of his affections), but of people.

This isn't a straightforward narrative, but a series of instances and recollections (Amarcord means "I Remember" in Italian) where teachers and priests seem just as oppressive as the dictator running the country. Sexually frustrated teen boys, fruit vendors with filled with farfetched stories of their adventures, mentally unstable uncles, seductive older women, and pontificating lawyers capture the eccentricities and passions of the moment, but the magic of Amarcord is when it moves far beyond nostalgia into the realm of universal human experience.

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