The Italian Reviews

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Cynthia S
Super Reviewer
½ January 2, 2011
Wonderful movie. The little boy in this film is really adorable, and an extremely convincing actor. The story is not melodramatic, or deliberately tear jerking, as many child "lead" films tend to be. There are a few difficult scenes, but the entire movie as a whole was very sweet...and left me in awe at the direction. It really warms my heart to watch real quality films....this one including.
Super Reviewer
½ March 8, 2011
A very touching story about the struggles of a six year old Russian orphan, who (after landing the ultimate placement for a Russian orphan - a nice couple from Italy) has an incredibly mature epiphany that prior to the move.

What if his real mother comes for him after he is adopted? Does anyone know who his mother is? Is she still alive?

This sets him on a quest to find out the truth about who he is and how he became an orphan in the first place. A quest that is clouded by a shady child broker who tells him he must be an idiot to not want to go to Italy and threatens to have him locked up in the "idiot hospital" if he refuses.

What would you do? A happy adopted life in sunny Italy, or risk it all on the hopes of finding your real mother and staying in a rather bleak and cold Russia?

The journey is harrowing but heartwarming and the results are touching.
Bannan i
Super Reviewer
December 19, 2007
This movie completely engrossed me, I haven't seen anything this emotionally rivetting in a really long time. It's one of those films that if it can hit the mark, it does...without mercy.

Of course, those of you who detest subtitles....beware! 'cause it's another foreign film, this time it's Russian.

I've not heard of any of these actors before, and this review is probably fricken' biased...but who cares...let's get on with the story!

It's about a little boy, Ivan [affectionately Vayna for short] Solnestev who is one of the numerous children in a little orphanage in some little town in Russia [I'm presuming]. Anyways, so the film begins with a nice young Italian couple coming by to check out this little boy deciding on whether or not they would like to adopt him and give him a fulfilling life in Italy.

Regardless of this fantastic offer, the little six-year-old is still in a dilemma as after his good friend Alesha Mushkin is carted off to another family a short while before...finally, his birth mother shows up distraught looking for him fervently. Instead, the director of the orphanage kicks her out and threatens to kill her. After drinking too much vodka sitting at the bus stop she waits until Vayna, his friend Anton and an older girl Natasha who went shopping come back and asks little Ivan to sit and talk to her about Alesha.

Later on we learn that 'allegedly' Mushkin's real mother threw herself onto the train tracks...although the older kids swear she just drank too much and fell and that starts Vanya thinking. 'What if when I'm in Italy and my real mother comes looking for me?' As his friend Anton says, 'Once they change your name, that's it. There's no hope of them for ever finding you again.'

Determined to find out about his birth mother Vanya takes on a lot of very brave, and sometimes quite foolish tasks that included breaking into the director's safe for personal files, stealing from Nikolai [who being one of the older kids takes advantage of the younger ones by having them work for him and give him all their money], and eventually leaving the chances of Italy far behind him.

The hardships that he faces seem a little bit surreal and unrealistic for a six-year-old to deal with but once engrossed by this film we stop and wonder 'how the hell do we know what we would do in that situation?'

The amazing quest that Vanya sets out on is something of a dream which he struggles to make a reality, facing various [dangerous] obstacles, kind people, neglect, apathy, escaping the authorities and so forth. Eventually he learns that the world isn't altogether necessarily a safe and happy place and that sometimes although the brain is yelling at us to stop our heart beats on stronger and louder drowning out any warnings that the brain utters.
bbcfloridabound bbcfloridabound
Super Reviewer
October 28, 2007
This is a Great Movie, its in the Russian Language with English Subtitles. Its about a boy who is ready to be take'n in by foster parents in Italy, right befor the adoption, he runs off to find his real Mom. Worth the watch, but wouldn't let anyone under 16 watch it.
puffchunk puffchunk
Super Reviewer
½ January 24, 2007
Decent, mostly because it has Russians in it. Rabbit proof fence does this story better.
Harlequin68 Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ January 9, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]"The Italian" takes place in Russia where Vanya(Kolya Spiridonov) is a six-year old orphan who is in the process of being adopted by an Italian couple. Everything is going well until the mother(Dariya Lesnikova) of one of Vanya's friends comes to collect him but he has already been adopted. This gets Vanya thinking about his own mother...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Italian" is a contrived movie whose leaden plotting(the movie does not really start until it is about halfway over) ruins any possible chance it might have had to explore the complex moral issues in play. To start, what does happen to those who cannot fend for themselves when a country's social services collapses? Here, it is exhibited in a Dickensian orphanage where the older boys run a black market while the older girls are farmed out for prostitution. The grown-ups turn a blind eye while selling their charges to wealthy couples from abroad which does little for the native country.[/font]
Richard F
Super Reviewer
August 27, 2009
The moral of the story is don't get lost in Russia, no one will help you. Okay, so the second act dragged a bit, but overall this is a strong cinematic effort. The six year old actor is really good and really adorable, and the director deserves credit for good storytelling.
Tom S
Super Reviewer
½ March 16, 2007
I would probably not have made it through past the first ten minutes of the movie if the kid didn't completely light up the screen.
Donna D
Super Reviewer
½ January 19, 2008
A well done movie. One of the best foreign movies I have seen in the past year. It has such intensity, yet dramatic and tremendous acting, especially by the little one who takes into his own hands of determination to find his true mother. A great flick. I loved it and would watch it over and over.
sazonovk sazonovk ½ June 26, 2008
This film is an absolute treasure! It is not only well done, and I don't mean super effects or huge budget, but well done from a true Cinematic and directorial approach, it also has a very interesting script. Most importantly, this film has a soul; it adds humanity to our consciousness, which is rare in this "postmodern" age we live in. Acting is excellent especially if you take under consideration that most of the characters are children. Like any great film, it speaks of the personal story and goes beyond, dealing with bigger issues. Moreover, this film follows the great Russian film tradition, reminded me of Tarkovsky, even though the style is very different, and more recent film "The Return" which came out of Russia couple years ago and won international awards.
WrellikW WrellikW August 27, 2009
Foreign, Russian. It's a good movie. It's about a boy, in an orphanage, in Russia and he gets an opportunity to be adopted by a couple from Italy. Before he becomes adopted, he sets out to find his real Mom and the events that happen during his journey. I liked it and would recommend it.
Josh R ½ September 9, 2007
A great story with a wonderful kid actor, this is a movie that is sure to be loved by mothers everywhere.
Jen J ½ August 7, 2007
I liked this movie overall. It's hard for me to understand the Russia dialect. I could tell that there was a lot more going on than I could completely understand.
chiphall72 chiphall72 ½ July 4, 2007
A little slow and the ending is contrived, but this tale of an abandoned six-year-old's quest to find his mother is well worth a watch.
thuringwithal thuringwithal ½ June 3, 2007
A thought-provoking film concerning a young orphan boy who desires to know who his birth mother was and goes on a journey to find her. Despite the hardships you have to watch this boy face, it's a very good movie and worth watching.
monaghfan monaghfan ½ June 3, 2007
This was a great movie. It showed a side of Russia I had often heard about but never fully understood. poignant, sad, and more importantly honest, this is going on the top of my list.
Shadow L ½ May 27, 2007
A nice little film that is a bit sentimental and has an ending that seemed a bit unreal. Still, it was a decent film and I did enjoy the little boy playing Vanya. He is quite the little actor.
Nizar Ezzeddine Nizar Ezzeddine ½ December 29, 2013
It looks like cinema loves to deal with kids seeking their parents. This movie is not going so far in this, indeed the story is not that noticeable due to the remarkable cinematography and the nice performance of the boy "Vanya" (Nikolay Spiridonov).

The only thing makes the difference in the script is how much could learning reading change things, so the 6 years old boy was able to know some personal information about him to make up his mind to leave that closed ruthless Russian orphanage, although he had a great offer to be adopted by a decent Italian family, so as soon as the movie turned to be a travel to find the mother, I suddenly stopped feeling interesting about it. I guess I was spoiled by "Landscape in the Mist" of "Theo Angelopoulos" that I cannot feel any movie to be better in that, and I really don't care how the end was. The cinematography is great for sure, with a perfect using of nature, and Nikolay Spiridonov gives a nice spontaneous performance. I really don't feel the soundtrack for me it is not convincing at all. I much appreciate that this film is the debut of a director.

Well, it supposed that movies like this have to awake something inside our souls. I'm really full of real stories I see everyday, unfortunately. though this "Italian" still nicely recommended and for no doubt watch-worthy.
Frances H ½ June 4, 2013
Hauntingly heart-rending film about the power of love that a child has for his mother. This movie deserves its high rating. What surprises me is the 68% of the audience response. I would have thought that percentage would be higher, but perhaps that's just that a lot of people here don't like subtitled foreign films. Their loss.
Alėna S December 17, 2012
Such a true story I can relate to. A great film. Balled my eyes out.
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