×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

It Can’t Be All Our Fault

Three years after his lackluster "A Chinese in a Coma," veteran comic actor/director Carlo Verdone returns to the screen with an ambitious film humorously probing the contemporary ills of eight characters in group therapy.

With:
Gege - Carlo Verdone Flavia - Margherita Buy Chiara - Anita Caprioli Marco - Stefano Pesce Ernesto - Antonio Catania

Three years after his lackluster “A Chinese in a Coma,” veteran comic actor/director Carlo Verdone returns to the screen with an ambitious film humorously probing the contemporary ills of eight characters in group therapy. “It Can’t Be All Our Fault” starts with a catchy premise and, though slow in building steam, comes down the homestretch with a satisfying payoff. Well-penned and acted, this ensemble work retains a personal touch likely to persuade Verdone’s numerous fans onshore, while it has the solidity to make inroads in other Euro markets.

Five men and three women analyze one of their dreams in a group therapy session, while the elderly psychotherapist listens sphinx-like behind dark glasses. At long last someone realizes she has died of a heart attack.

This perfectly choreographed beginning gets pic off and running, but then Verdone and his scripters decide to democratically give a thumbnail of each character’s life and neurosis. Gege (Verdone) stands out as the brow-beaten son of a tyrannical factory owner. He tries to have a life with model Raquel Sueiro, but they aren’t made for each other.

The other patients run the gamut from an over-intellectualized gay man (Max Amato) who can’t break with his married lover; a schoolteacher (Margherita Buy) hungry for maternity who has the same problem with her married lover; an unfaithful husband (Antonio Catania) kicked out of the house by his wife, who rides trains all night rather than sleep in a residence; an anorexic college girl (Anita Caprioli) afraid to love and a young man (Stefano Pesce) who loves her; a woman in her 50s (Lucia Sardo) who pays for sex; and a quiet, religious orchestra member (Luciano Gubinelli) who still lives with his mother. This is quite a list to get through, and the story hits dead calm until it’s done.

When the characters finally meet again at the funeral, they realize they need each other to relieve their solitary torments. Failing to find another analyst, they try but botch self-managed therapy. Meanwhile Gege’s teenage son (Lorenzo Balducci), whom he hasn’t seen since birth because he’s afraid of flying, comes from Argentina on a visit. Gege’s naive excitement is chilled by his own father’s cold-hearted manipulation of the boy. Both as actor and director, Verdone steers a middle course between comic neurosis and true misery, depicting both with compassion.

Tone changes in the final scenes, set in a country inn where the self-help group goes to spend the weekend. Things finally relax and begin to work out for the better during a long, magical night.

As the overdressed bleached blonde afraid of aging, stage thesp Sardo brings pathos to her role, Amato is a refreshingly non-stereotyped gay, and young Caprioli’s screwed-up college student hits a lot of painfully real notes. But characteristic of Verdone’s world view, even the most poignant scenes have a flip side. With deadly Roman humor, characters hit each others’ weaknesses on the nail in killing one-liners. It’s a trick used over and over again, and is always effective in lightening up what is basically a quite serious film.

Tech work is simple and functional, leaving the emphasis on the characters and acting. Lele Marchitelli’s music is very listenable.

It Can't Be All Our Fault

Italy

Production: A Warner Bros. Italia release of a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation of a Virginia s.r.l. production. Executive producer, Mino Barbera. Directed by Carlo Verdone. Screenplay, Piero De Bernardi, Pasquale Plastino, Fiamma Satta, Verdone.

Crew: Camera (color), Danilo Desideri; editor, Claudio Di Mauro; music, Lele Marchitelli; production designer, Maurizio Marchitelli ; costumes, Maurizio Millenotti; sound (Dolby Digital), Tommaso Quattrini; casting, Fabiola Banfi. Reviewed at Warner Bros. screening room, Rome, Dec. 17, 2002. Running time: 114 MIN.

With: Gege - Carlo Verdone Flavia - Margherita Buy Chiara - Anita Caprioli Marco - Stefano Pesce Ernesto - Antonio CataniaWith: Lucia Sardo, Max Amato, Raquel Sueiro, Luciano Gubinelli.

More Film

  • Aniara review

    Film Review: 'Aniara'

    Each year brings an example or three of purported “thinking person’s science-fiction” films, a category that pretty much embraces anything not centered on monsters or lightsaber battles. These efforts are often more admirable in theory than result, but “Aniara” — the first film drawn from Nobel Prize-winning Swedish poet Harry Martinson’s 1956 cycle of 103 [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame' Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

    It’s been a long year for Marvel fans since the release of “Avengers: Infinity War,” but the wait is nearly over. The finale to the Infinity Saga is here, and while most diehard fans will know to avoid them for fear of spoilers, early reviews are mostly positive. Last year’s “Infinity War” took home an [...]

  • American Made

    'American Made' Plane Crash Lawsuits End in Settlement

    The producers of the Tom Cruise film “American Made” have settled all litigation surrounding a 2015 plane crash in Colombia that killed two pilots. The settlement resolves pending suits in both California and Georgia. A notice of settlement was filed in Santa Monica Superior Court on Monday. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    Film Review: 'Avengers: Endgame'

    SPOILER ALERT: The following review contains mild spoilers for “Avengers: Endgame.” The culmination of 10 years and more than twice as many movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Avengers: Endgame” promises closure where its predecessor, “Avengers: Infinity War,” sowed chaos. That film — which revealed that the cookie-cutter uniformity of all those MCU movies had [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame': Why a $300 Million Opening Could Be Impossible

    “Avengers: Endgame” is preparing for a staggering debut between $250 million and $268 million in North America alone. Unprecedented anticipation surrounding the Marvel juggernaut has some particularly optimistic box office watchers tossing around even higher numbers, estimating the superhero tentpole could clear nearly $300 million in ticket sales in its first three days. If any film [...]

  • Leonardo Dicaprio Nightmare Alley

    Leonardo DiCaprio in Talks to Star in Guillermo del Toro's 'Nightmare Alley' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Leonardo DiCaprio is in negotiations to star in Fox Searchlight’s “Nightmare Alley,” Guillermo del Toro’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning film “The Shape of Water.” Del Toro will direct the pic and co-wrote the script with Kim Morgan. “Nightmare Alley” is being produced and financed by del Toro and J. Miles Dale with TSG Entertainment, with [...]

  • Ben Affleck

    Ben Affleck to Star in and Direct World War II Caper 'Ghost Army'

    Ben Affleck will star in and direct the Universal Pictures caper “Ghost Army,” based on the book “The Ghost Army of World War II,” written by Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles, as well as the documentary “Ghost Army.” It’s unclear when the movie will go into production as it’s still in development and Affleck is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content