Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
MY BROTHER IS AN ONLY CHILD MOVIE REVIEW
(Mio Fratello E' Figlio Unica)
Directed by: Danielle Luchetti
Running time: 108 minutes
Release date: March 28, 2008 (NY), April 4, 2008 (LA)
Genre: Drama, Politics, Comedy, Romance and Crime
MPAA Rating: NR - Italian with English subtitles
Inspired by the book "The Fasciocomunista" by Antonio Pennacchi, in My Brother is an Only Child director Luchetti tells the tale of two brothers Accio (Elio Germano) and Manrico (Riccardo Scamarcio) forced to confront choices in a small town in the 1960s and 1970s. Both brothers expose their wild passions in their politics, romances and family. The family is the root of their existence.
This period piece narrative focuses on their political entanglements in post war Latina, Italy. Accio the younger brother is very uncertain about his life. One day he serves on the alter in his Catholic school, and the following day he's asking for forgiveness for his sins. Manrico, the older brother, is suave and charismatic. He has found his calling as the local leader of the Communist party. Jealous of Manrico's success, Accio becomes interested in the reactionary Mussolini Fascist party. Accio tells his middle sister Violetta (Alba Rohrwacher) and she tells the family. They think he's crazy and insist he quit the party. This is the start of the polarizing relationship of the two brothers. As turbulent as the rivalry gets between the brothers, they share an unbreakable bond of brotherhood.
There is a coming of age subplot involved in this movie where the brothers mature in mind and sexual awareness. Manrico's girlfriend Francesca (Diane Fleri) is the third major character in this story who Accio has eyes for. This is another facet in the rivalry. Francesca is overwhelmed, just like everyone else, with Manrico's charm and as a result she is blind to his dangerous ways.
My Brother is an Only Child seems to be a simple story of competition between brothers, yet the film also develops a compelling character study as it examines the different personalities of the brothers. The small scuffles between them are used to blend some humourous overtones into this fictional tale. Historical national events in the movie solidify the plot. All the while, Accio's character is studied and seen through a prism.
This arthouse film has many delights to rave about. One delight is the compelling performance by Elio Germano as Accio. Germano's range is amazing and his presence is brilliant. He cleverly and believably executes carrying his character from a teenager to a mature young man. Elio Germano is supported by an able cast with the talented Angela Finocchiaro as his mother, Massimo Zingaretti as his father and Ascanio Celestini as his adulteress older lover Bella.
The audience doesn't need to be familiar with the Italian political views of the era to enjoy a good-looking, funny and often dramatic film.
FILM RATING (B)
To view trailer of My Brother is an Only Child, click here