Starring: Liam Neeson, Michéal Richardson, Lindsey Duncan
Director: James D’Arcy
Running Time: 93 mins
Made In Italy is a British film about a father and his estranged son who return to their family’s villa in Tuscany to restore it, years after the father’s wife died in a traumatic car crash.
This is a complex film to review, because while it’s difficult to look past the fact that Made In Italy isn’t the greatest movie ever made, it is one that’s clearly full of very intimate and challenging emotion for its two main leads.
Following the story of a father and son in the aftermath of the death of their respective wife and mother, the premise of Made In Italy shares clear parallels with the events of Liam Neeson and son Michéal Richardson’s own lives, after their respective wife and mother, Natasha Richardson, was killed in an accident.
As such, it’s difficult to look at Made In Italy as a film that’s purely ‘bad’, because it feels more like a personal exercise for its lead actors, in tribute to Natasha Richardson.
Looking at the film from that perspective, you can see the personal merit of Made In Italy, even if the film doesn’t have all that much to offer general audiences.
Billed as a ‘heartwarming comedy-drama’, the film lives up to none of those advertised genres. With the exception of a couple of sparing moments, there really is nothing to laugh at in Made In Italy.
As for the drama, there’s no denying that this film tells a serious story, but it goes about it with a painfully meandering pace, and struggles with dialogue that is so much more wooden than the most powerful of semi-autobiographical dramas.
Meanwhile, Liam Neeson is nowhere near the top of his game here, after recently showing his tender side again in Ordinary Love. His co-star and son, Michéal Richardson, struggles to convince you of the depth of emotion of his character, and pales in comparison to some of the more experienced across he shares the screen with.
Despite its sunbaked Tuscan setting and a few fleeting moments of captivating drama, this clearly personal story struggles to engage at any point, and proves a rather difficult film to love. So, that’s why I’m giving Made In Italy a 4.4 overall.