Francesco Scianna stars as Italian film star and Latin lover, Saverio Crispo
The film centres around a gathering to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the passing of Saverio Crispo (Francesco Scianna), a (fictitious) famed Italian movie star. It is quickly clear that in his day, Crispo was a hit with the ladies, as he has five daughters from five different women, spanning several decades, and living in different countries.
In what appears to be a rather enlightened arrangement, four of the daughters - all now adults - and the first two wives of Crispo, gather together in the Italian town where Crispo lived before he became famous.
Initially, the relationship within the group is civil, almost familial. The exception is Stephanie, (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), one of the daughters, who seems rather on the outer. A clue to this may lie in the fact that even though she was the second born daughter, it is the third born who carries the name of 'Segunda' (which in Spanish means 'born second').
As might be expected with such a diverse group, things soon start to unravel. Stories are told, and skeletons rattle their way out of closets.
And just who is the gun toting Pedro del Rio (Lluís Homar), and how did he figure in Saverio Crispo's life?
The story is made complex by the size of the cast. I almost felt like I initially needed a family tree in front of me to follow who was who! However, it's a clever story, with many delightful and amusing twists and turns along the way.
A highlight of the film is the tight scripting and direction around the interaction between members of Crispo's extended 'family'. I feel that director Cristina Comencini, whose film The Beast in the Heart was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, has got the dynamics just right.
The film also features a strong international cast including the late three-time David di Donatello winner, Virna Lisi, who died of cancer in December 2014, aged 78.
The film received four nominations at the 2015 David di Donatello Awards, for best actress (Lisi), best costumes (Alessandro Lai), best makeup (Ermanno Spera) and best hairstyling (Alberta Giuliani).
Latin Lover is playing at Palace Cinemas from 15th September
Latin Lover is a clever and enjoyable movie, with some great acting and quality direction. There's gentle humour along the way, as we learn more about the complex character that was Saverio Crispo.
Latin Lover has a running time of 1h 44m, and has an 'M' rating. The dialogue is in Italian with English subtitles.
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