Sunday, May 19, 2024

Amanda (2023) movie review and synopsis.

First-time writer/director Carolina Cavalli has a keen eye for composition and an engaging confidence in her vision. She said she chose Benedetta Porcaroli to play Amanda because of her melancholy attitude and strength of spirit. Both are evident in the character, whose status may be suggested by her name, known in the US but almost unheard of in Italy. In a very brief flashback that opens the film, we see that even as a child her behavior could be shocking, though we don’t find out until later what exactly she did that caused the maid to scream her name and knock over the tray. held. When we next see her, she is in her twenties and has returned home to the comfortable home of her wealthy family after studying in Paris. She does not want to join her sister in the family business, a pharmacy chain. But she is not willing to do anything else either. She is confident that she knows what she does not like and is even more confident about the people and activities around her. She shows little interest in her sister’s young daughter and a neighbor’s horse, but the closest thing she has to a companion is Judy, the same maid who fell on her tray, a middle-aged woman she begs go for a walk with him. Amanda’s mother, Sofia (Monica Nappo), will no longer allow Judy to date Amanda and offers an alternative.

Sofia and her friend have no idea what to do with their unmarried daughters and hope that their union will somehow help them move forward. When they were children, Amanda was friends with Rebecca, the other character with an Anglo-American name. Small problem now: Rebecca (Galatea Bellugi) refuses to leave her room.

Like a less rambunctious Wes Anderson film, “Amanda” has quirky, precocious young characters who deliver aphoristic pronouncements in monotone, deadpan voices in beautifully composed settings. Although she is in her mid-twenties, Amanda looks like a teenager, reflexively protective. She feels more controlled when she expresses dark feelings, insults people, or crosses the lines of acceptable behavior, such as cutting her toenails in her mother’s bath water. Amanda desperately wants a friend and lover, but has no idea how to show interest in anyone other than to offend them. She cares for and even identifies with the neighbor’s neglected horse, but all she says to him is, “You’re too weak. You look like a table.” She gazes longingly at an attractive young man, but has no idea how to let him know she’s interested. And then she gets hurt and angry when he goes out with someone else. But she’s self-aware enough to realize that she “never does anything because she’s too busy doing nothing.”

Amanda’s simplicity is an asset with Rebecca. Like Maria with her spoiled cousin Colin inside The Secret Garden, Amanda’s abrasive directness brings out an honesty between her and Rebecca, leading to some progress for both. Porcaroli’s face, as Amanda’s permanent frown begins to relax, is a little gem. In the American version of this film, it might result in more visible progress, perhaps with some hugs. But this is not that movie. Cavalli respects the complexity of the world, and the film “Amanda” is as uncompromising as the character Amanda.

Now plays in theaters.

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HomeReviewsAmanda (2023) movie review and synopsis.

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