L’immensita (12A) |Close-Up Film Review

Dir: Emanuele Crialese, France/Italy 2022, 99 mins.

Cast: Penelope Cruz, Luana Giuliani, Vincenzo Amato

Review by Carlie Newman

Penelope Cruz, playing the beautiful mother, is the obvious star of this quirky story, but Luana Giuliani shines brightly as her older daughter.

Set in Rome in the 1970s, the story tells of a family with problems. Cruz is Clara, who is Spanish and unhappily married to Felice (Vincenzo Amato) who cheats on her. They have three children. The older daughter, Adri (Luana Giuliani) wants to be a boy and dresses and calls herself Andrea to support her lifestyle.

While Clara likes to play with the children – there is a delightful scene where the three children along with their mother dance and sing a pop song as they lay the table – but she displays some rather bizarre behaviour which leads to a breakdown. Clara shows her unusual way of conducting herself in front of her unsympathetic friends and she also defends Adri’s choice of gender. Meanwhile Adri, as a boy, becomes friendly with a girl who lives in a camp in an area of the city under development.

There are some great fantasy sequences, with singing and dancing. Cruz shows a range of acting skills and is a pleasure to watch. There is a terrific performance by Luana Giuliani who puts across the daughter’s conflicts trying to live as a boy but being seen by family, friends and school as a girl.

Directed, with a sensitive feeling for the partly autobiographical story, by Emanuele Crialese, the film is well worth a visit.