Margherita (Margherita Buy) finds her life coming apart. The film she is directing is a mess. She does not seem to know what the film is about anymore, and that puts the whole set in confused WTF state. That is probably because her private life is in shambles as well. Margherita just broke up with her boyfriend and, if that wasn’t enough, her mother is dying. It must be terrible for Margherita to see her mother Ada (Giulia Lazzarini), a retired professor of classical literature, gradually losing her voice, her memory and her mind. To play the main part in the film, the producers have hired American popular actor Barry Huggins (played by American actor John Turturro). She is hoping that his arrival will be the boost the cast and the crew needs. But unfortunately, Huggins is unable to remember his lines, won’t take direction from Margherita. It gets worse when they start screaming at each other during a the shooting of a key scene. As Ada’s condition is getting worse, Margherita and her brother, Giovanni (Mia Madre director Nanni Moretti), are there to help and support each other. Then Margherita start dreaming about her mother. Dreams that seems so real, even though the settings are surreal. It is almost as if those were scenes from her next film. If Moretti directs without any pyrotechnics or technical wizardry, it may be because this a character study that demands a slow and realistic evolution of the people he writes about. The cast is excellent. Although I did like Margherita Buy’s acting, I must admit that I was blown away by Giulia Lazzarini. With almost no dialogue, the veteran actress shines in every scene she is in. What a haunting presence. The hardest thing about death is not death itself, but accepting the absence of the person we loved.
In Italian and English.with English subtitles.