Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Hand of God - Movie Review

The Movie: The Hand of God

The Director: Paolo Sorrentino

The Cast: Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo, Luisa Ranieri, Renato Carpentieri, Massimiliano Gallo, Betti Pedrazzi

The Story: The story of a boy in the tumultuous Naples of the 1980s. Sorrentino's most personal film yet is a tale of fate and family, sports and cinema, love and loss.

The Review:
Paolo Sorrentino doesn't just make movies, he makes works of art. His film La Grande Bellezza won all kinds of awards including the Oscar, Golden Globe, and the Bafta Award for best foreign language film and now the director returns with a semiautobiographical story that could see him return to all of those awards show podiums. I am thankful to have been able to watch this movie on the big screen as the movie is filled with stunning visuals including the scenic backdrops and landscapes of Naples, Italy.

The story covers so much territory while focusing on young Fabietto Schisa, played beautifully by Filippo Scotti a teenage boy who has big dreams and desires and aspirations and yet suffers constant setbacks both in his personal life and family life which, as we all know, is a pretty normal teenage existence. Sorrentino also discusses the culture and climate of 1980's Italy mostly through the other family members as we see dysfunctionality and discourse dominate most of the proceedings. What makes this movie special is how the director also weaves in so much love as a through line for every single character and the interactions they have with each other.

Fabietto and his older brother Marchino, played by Marlon Joubert, see the world very differently although they maintain a strong bond and have each other's backs even through some very adverse situations. For me this relationship was really the core of the movie, maybe because I saw the relationship I have with my own older brother within their story, even though it's just a small part of the overall story.  All of the performances feel so natural giving you the sense of really getting to know each of them like you are right there sharing their experiences.

The run time for the movie is just over two hours and Sorrentino gets everything he can out of every second. By the end, it feels full and fulfilling without any of it feeling bloated or unnecessary. You feel the generations of depth in the storytelling and the director rewards his audience's investment with an ending that is as inspirational as it is satisfying.

The Verdict:
The Hand of God is a beautifully told coming of age story that will restore your faith in cinematic storytelling. Paolo Sorrentino gets as personal as he ever has with a story pulled from his own life experience and filled with all the love and care a person could put into it.

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