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"And you say these narcolepsy fits are triggered by terrifically boring first dates, huh?"

Remember Me, My Love
(NR, 125 min.)

Thursday, January 06, 2005
Copyright © Las Vegas Mercury

Remember Me, My Love

Overextended family: Remember Me is choppy but charming

By Anthony Del Valle

Remember Me, My Love (Ricordati Di Me) is at times a fascinating look at the differences and parallels of the love lives of four modern Italian family members. Director Gabrielle Muccino's love roundelay isn't entirely successful, mainly because his and Heidrun Schleef's screenplay is at times as confused as the characters. But it has enough moments of sharp observation to make it worthwhile.

Muccino somehow gets the near-tragic story to play like near-comedy. Carlo (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) and wife Giulia (Laura Morante) still love one another after two decades of marriage, but have long since lost their passion and shared interests. The real trouble begins when Carlo finds a woman (Passion of the Christ's Monica Bellucci) who wants him to read aloud the book he's written and kept locked away for years, while Giulia takes a role in a local play and is mentored by the director. The pair don't even notice that their 19-year-old son Paolo (Silvio Muccino) is an unhappy wallflower, because he doesn't have enough self-confidence to interest women, while 17-year-old daughter Valentina (Nicoletta Romanoff) has so much confidence, she's convinced all she needs to do is sleep with the right people to win a spot on a local teen music show.

The quartet's tales frequently intersect with sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant results. For all the charming romantic bumbling, Muccino's big achievement is making us care about the predicaments these flawed people keep finding themselves in.

However, the characters, particularly the wife, are so one-note self-absorbed, the film runs out of steam three-quarters of the way through. There's not enough detail for us to understand why some of the characters do or don't change. There's a duplicitous act committed in the end by one character that we can't make sense of, because we don't know the character well enough. The film's themes are muddled in vagueness. Still, the acting is superb and the glimpses of human behavior feel genuine.

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