A narcissistic artist finds his self-satisfied world turned upside down in the wake of a disastrous exhibition and his previously devoted wife’s extra-marital inclinations, in the touching and insightful new comedy-drama from Italian writer-director Daniele Luchetti.
Those Happy Years
Daniele Luchetti's touching and insightful new drama tells, in a new and thoughtful way, a timeless story of a marriage under stress. It is balanced and clear, and never loses sight of the underlying complexities that motivate its characters. Focussed on performance and narrative, the film is stylistically conventional, but its edge comes from the twist that Luchetti brings to his tale, which takes on an autobiographical tone as the couple's son astutely observes his parents' behaviour.
The film centres on a narcissistic artist, Guido (Kim Rossi Stuart), who rambles around his studio in the company of a bevy of attractive young women, arousing the jealousy and anger of his devoted wife, Serena (Micaela Ramazzotti), who is rapidly tiring of her husband's peccadilloes. Thanks to the help of a gallery owner, an attractive middle-aged woman, Guido gets an important commission for an art show in Milan, which somehow goes disastrously wrong. Accused of lack of passion by a local art critics, Guido becomes extremely sensitive to criticism of any sort, and is taken aback when his wife reveals that she is taking the kids off to a feminist retreat in France at the invitation of the same gallery owner who pushed his career forward. This vacation turns Guido's life upside down and forces him to confront all those things that have limited his art. Used to being in the driver's seat, our self-engaged artist finds out that life can indeed provide comeuppances of a surprising kind.
Luchetti is a fine writer of dialogue and a
wonderful judge of character and situation.
In this contemporary look at a marriage in
crisis, he elicits excellent performances
from two of Italy's best-known actors, and
effortlessly steers this story away from the
melodramatic and toward territory rich
with sincere emotion and empathy.