Fortunata (or Lucky in English) tells the story of a young woman (Jasmine Trinca) with a failed marriage behind her, who is fighting for her dream to open a hair salon to become free and independent. With her young daughter, Barbara, she struggles each day with being a travelling hairdresser while trying to bring up Barbara on her own. Her soon-to-be ex-husband bullies and abuses her.
Despite her daily struggles, she is feisty, emotional, likeable, and very Italian. She has a raw beauty, yet at the same time is a real person with whom we are able to empathise. Her relationship with her young daughter is fraught with difficulties, mainly due to the child's behaviour as a result of the parents' separation. When Barbara has to see a psychologist, because of her behavioral problems, mainly spitting, a new, and very sympathetic character enters Fortunata's life.
There are other, rather luckless characters in the film, namely Chicano and his German mother. Chicano is Fortunata's a friend and perhaps future business partner when she is able to open her hairdressing salon. He is bipolar, drug dependent and has his mother, who has dementia, to look after. Life is not easy for any of the characters in the film.
Fortunata's own childhood provides some clues to her life and her outlook on life, as well as her quest to make things better for herself and Barbara. Her love for her daughter is unquestionable, even when things get tough.
Set in working-class, modern Rome, there are signs of old neighbourhoods changing through immigration and refugees. Street art, interspersed with historical ruins, makes the setting an interesting contemplation on how life is changing in Rome as well as all over the world.
Strong acting by the main character makes this melodramatic film worth watching. Fortunata, despite bad luck following her, becomes empowered at the end of the movie, but perhaps not in the way that she had dreamt.