[REVIEW] ‘Made in Italy’: a Family, a Renovation, an Escape

There are some films that watching them are like wrapping up in a cozy blanket and the new film Made in Italy is that kind of movie. Everything from the subject matter, to the casting, to the setting in Tuscany make you want to pull out the tissues and call your Mother. I love when a film can give me such feels and Made in Italy did not disappoint.

Let’s start with the casting. Made in Italy stars Liam Neeson and his real life son Micheál Richardson. They of course play father and son in the film, and they are brought together to restore a house in Tuscany once owned by their departed mother/wife. This of course has emotional resonance as their real life mother/wife Natasha Richardson died tragically in a skiing accident in 2009.

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While not autobiographical the knowledge of the real-life events the actors have suffered can’t help but impact their performances and bring a special dose of emotion to the film. Indeed, when Neeson is looking through old albums at photos of his wife we get the feeling this activity isn’t foreign to him at all and the tears come!

Both father and son have excellent chemistry as you might expect and young Richardson holds his own in the more dramatic sequences along with his more seasoned father. We even get a little bit of romance for him with a local chef named Rafaella (Helena Antonio).

Made in Italy also has the novelty of watching a home renovation in a place as beautiful as Tuscany. Don’t we all need that right now? With no chance of traveling to Europe any time soon I relished in a chance to vacate there vicariously through film. Even when things are difficult and they can’t decide what paint to use or when to paint over his angry art it’s all more charming and delightful because it’s in Italy.

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If you love movies like Return to Me or Under the Tuscan Sun you will love Made in Italy. It’s heartfelt, well put together, escapist fare that I thoroughly enjoyed. There’s even a scene where they gratuitously eat spaghetti bolognese, and I was there for it! Yum!  (I’ve actually been to Tuscany when I was 17 and this sure brought back tons of memories. I told my Mother when this nightmare is all over we need to go!)

I am not sure if Made in Italy will get into open theaters/drive-in but it is going to be on VOD Aug 7th and I highly recommend it. I finished it and even though I had cried I felt happy and hopeful. We can all use more of that these days.

8.5 out of 10

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