Starring: Ksenia Solo, Maria Bello, Mary Lynn Rajskub
Director: Taron Lexton
Running Time: 93 mins
In Search Of Fellini is an American film about a shy, sheltered young woman who develops a love for the films of director Federico Fellini, and so decides to go to Italy to find him.
I absolutely loved this film. It may be a bit of a cheesy and sentimental piece, but it’s one that warmed my heart from beginning to end, featuring a touching coming-of-age tale weaved in with a wonderful adventure, beautiful visuals, a delightful score, and the heart of a real film lover, all furthered by some powerful drama to boot, making In Search Of Fellini one of the most deeply immersive, pleasant and yet still intriguing films I’ve seen in quite a while.
As I’ve just mentioned, there’s so much to adore about this film, but if there’s one thing that really moved me, then it was the film’s cinephile heart, taking inspiration from the films of Fellini and expertly weaving smart and entertaining details into the movie’s own story, meaning that anyone with a love for the director (or just movies in general) will fall head over heels in love with this film.
Not only do we see our main character fall in love with Fellini’s films, but as she makes her way around Italy on a journey that leads her to grow so much as an individual, she also encounters scenarios that remind her of Fellini. Now, some are blatant references to classics like La Dolce Vita, Nights Of Cabiria, La Strada and more, but it’s the fact that there’s always that consciousness and love for Fellini and cinema in general throughout the film that makes it so memorable, and will surely make any film lover’s heart sing right the way through.
Of course, the movie’s not only directed at cinephiles, because its own story is just as engrossing and moving too. In effect, it’s a coming-of-age tale that follows a young woman who’s spent her entire childhood sheltered from all the bad things in the world (to an extreme degree), and must break out and see what the world is really like.
In that, her development from an innocent and pure childlike character to someone with a whole lot more worldly experience is dramatic to say the least, and the steps that she overcomes to change in such a way are riveting to watch.
On the one hand, she encounters all sorts of bad things that dampen her innocent perspective on the world, with the film even reaching into fairly dark territory to show how much she has to learn. On the other, she also discovers that there’s still even more wonder to be had in the world, and while she battles with coming to terms with some of the more negative aspects of society, watching her enjoy the sweeter things in life is absolutely beautiful, made more so due to the stark contrast between the light and the dark.
So, while you may at first think that this is a cheesy and sentimental travelogue/cinema-loving movie, In Search Of Fellini does have real depth and drama, with strong contrasts of light and dark that make our character’s development so striking throughout, and a moving story to follow from beginning to end.
It’s not only the film’s story that’s so touching, however, as it’s also filled with beautiful visuals and music throughout, all brought together brilliantly by director Taron Lexton. Again, it may be a bit of a romanticised vision, with steretypically idyllic portrayals of Italy, travel, cinema, family, maturing, love and more, but that never takes away from the film’s visual beauty for even a second, with the film being bathed in beautiful and warm colours and tones throughout (even in the darker moments), complete with a sweet and touching melody of a score, all of which makes the film go down so sweetly.
Lexton does well to balance the film’s drama and its more aesthetic loveliness, and although I can tell that this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I was really impressed by how well it all comes together, making for a movie that’s just as dramatically riveting as it is simply nice to sit back and relax with; a really memorable experience in my book.
And finally, we come to the acting. Thanks to a great screenplay, the characters here are generally very well-written, and the actors do just as good a job at bringing them to life on screen. In the lead role, Ksenia Solo is wonderful as the main character, at first convincingly portraying the innocent and sheltered young woman, and still managing to turn her into someone a whole lot stronger and battle-hardened come the end of the film, a development that really isn’t all that easy to act out in such convincing and likable fashion.
Overall, I had an absolutely wonderful time with In Search Of Fellini. I know that it may not be for everyone, but it’s a film that had my heart singing with joy from beginning to end, thanks to its truly beautiful visuals, music, directing, acting and story, complete with a strong balance between genuine drama and light, sweet, sentimental joy, as well as a deep love for the movies that adds the cherry on top of a delightfully sweet cake, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.4.