A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Under the Riccione Sun is an American-style beach movie served up in Italian (with English subtitles) about college students who gather at an Italian beach resort for summer break. As in such American fare, they are there to find sex and love, however temporary, to drink, and to dance and get high. Social media, apps for finding sexual partners, and old-style courtship practices all play a role in these lives, portrayed by actors who look spectacular in minimalist bathing suits. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," and "p---y." Twenty-somethings smoke cigarettes, smoke marijuana, and drink alcohol. Lots of posterior-revealing bathing suits are showcased. A couple is seen kissing, shot from the shoulders up, presumably having sex. An older man boasts that in his prime he had five women in one day, without rest. Naked runners streak by from afar on a dimly-lit beach.
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What's the story?
Summer begins at the Italian Riviera and youth start pouring in for jobs and fun in UNDER THE RICCIONE SUN. Ciro (Cristiano Caccamo) arrives to audition at a large hotel as a singer, but doesn't make it and walks his way into a lifeguard job at a busy beach resort. Now he won't see his girlfriend Vio for weeks, but he immediately runs into Emma (Claudia Tranchese), her best friend, who works at another resort. Beautiful women in tiny bikinis come on to him, and although he's staying faithful to Vio, he doesn't want Emma around to report his every move. Vincenzo (Lorenzo Zurzolo), 20, arrives with his mom Irene (Isabella Ferrari), divorced, overprotective, and especially clingy since her son is blind. Vincenzo instantly makes friends, one of whom puts him on a Tinder-like app. Soon he's flirting with Cami (Ludovica Martino), who has a boyfriend with whom she's dissatisfied. Marco (Lorenzo Garatti) has loved Guenda (Fotini Peluso) from afar for years. Couples rearrange until everyone ends up with the right partner.
Is it any good?
This movie feels one whose title came first, plot later. Under the Riccione Sun is set in the Italian Riviera with skimpier bikinis than in the movies of the early 1960s, but the theme is similarly unremarkable, promoting love over sex and fidelity over unfaithfulness, sensible things that kids partying on the beach probably aren't prioritizing in real life. The movie seems to have a moral, that taking a risk on love leaves one as open to heartbreak as to happiness. But its main asset is plenty of beautiful faces and bodies, youths splashing in the sea, volleyball in bathing suits, and the ogling of potential mates. Especially charismatic is Cristiano Caccamo as Ciro, who seems equally adept at comedy, romance, and drama.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the lessons in seduction offered by an aging, formerly successful Don Juan to a younger man struggling to make a girl like him. Does his advice feel sexist, deceptive, or helpful? Do you think pretending to be interested in a woman's problems is a good way to begin a relationship? Why or why not?
Some people seem to try hard to stay faithful to boyfriends and girlfriends, then switch to new partners anyway. Does that undermine Under the Riccione Sun's seeming message that love is more important than scoring? Why or why not?
How does this Italian movie compare to American-style beach movies?
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