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Parents' Guide to

Made in Italy

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Poignant father-son dramedy has strong language.

Movie R 2020 94 minutes
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Real-life father and son Neeson and Richardson give affecting performances in this predictable but poignant dramedy set in the gorgeous Tuscan hills. Audiences aware of Neeson and Richardson's personal history -- that Neeson's wife/Richardson's mother, Natasha Richardson, died tragically after a skiing accident in 2009 -- will see the immediate parallels with the story of Robert and Jack losing their beloved wife/mother in a car accident when Jack was a young boy. The scenes between Robert and Jack unpacking their grief and the aftermath of the accident are particularly authentic, the emotion visceral.

There's a natural beauty to films set in Italy, and director James D'Arcy uses the country's idyllic landscapes in a way that lovingly captures the light. Despite its heavy themes, the plot of Made in Italy is remarkably easy to follow, especially when it comes to the men's potential love interests, who are identifiable from their first moments on screen. Bilello is well-cast as a luminous single mother who's also an exceptional chef and an almost magical restaurant owner. And Duncan is fabulous as the candid, eyebrow-raising estate agent who manages to get Robert to share about his past. Although the story is thin, there's substance in the simplicity, and it's refreshing to see Neeson play a father who doesn't tote guns or have to extract his child from kidnappers.

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