The Salt of Life (2012)
In The Salt of Life, Gianni (Gianni Di Gregorio) plays a middle-aged retiree who has become invisible to all distaff Romans, regardless of age or relation. He contends with an aristocratic, spendthrift mother (Valeria de Franciscis); a wife who is more patronizing friend than romantic partner; a daughter (played by Di Gregorio's daughter Teresa) with a slacker boyfriend whom Gianni unwillingly befriends; and a wild young neighbor who sees him merely as her dog walker. Watching his "codger" friends snare beautiful younger women on the sun-kissed cobblestones of Trastevere, Gianni tries his polite, utterly gracious best to generate some kind of extracurricular love life-with both hilarious and poignant results. -- (C) Zeitgeist … More
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Critic Reviews for The Salt of Life
Italian film has done us another favor-it has sent us Gianni Di Gregorio again.
Italian writer/director/comedian Gianni Di Gregorio plays browbeaten family men brilliantly, and in this film he's given himself a fine showcase.
At times, the sad sights are enough to make a person hope the put-upon guy finds success. The problem is, as affable as Giovanni is, there's not much more to him.
Episodically structured and lethargically paced, the new film attempts to convince us that there's something incredibly charming about an old guy who makes a habit of ogling young women. Actually, the whole scenario is pretty creepy.
Though you can empathize with Gianni's loneliness, the lecherous buffoon is too much of a stock type to feel fresh. At times, the comedy is shamelessly broad.
"The Salt of Life" finds gentle comedy in the dilemma of a still warm-blooded if sexually marginalized fellow for whom kindness is second nature and lecherousness is alien.
Love and beautiful women are the fragrant themes of this charmer of a comedy in which director, writer and star Gianni Di Gregorio explores the reality and the dreams of a man stuck in a rut of everyday life.
An extraordinary and universal Italian film about a 60-year-old man's mid-life crisis and the sapping of his spirit.
A sweet-natured, bittersweet little movie -- and I mean little -- about growing old.
By acknowledging that younger and older women might be wiser than he is, Di Gregorio takes what could have been a shallow excuse for self-pity and has managed to milk the setup for all the laughs it can generate.
Di Gregorio has a low-key, unaffected charm that makes it remarkably easy to relate to his semi-autobiographical movies.
"Mid-August Lunch" is a livelier film, but its fans should check this one out.
Perhaps the sweetest movie ever made about a guy trying to cheat on his wife.
"Salt of Life" somehow takes what should be the leering thoughts of a dirty old man, and makes them poignant.
So hyperbolic are his fantasies that it's clear that not only will they never come true, but they never were true to begin with. Seems to me that's a better place to begin than end.
Audience Reviews for The Salt of Life
A giving, genuine, and nice older man tries to take a mistress to liven up his boring life.
I really liked the idea of this film: kindness can weigh on one, especially when one is surrounded by assholes. But in drama, or more broadly story-telling, audiences care about revolt, a character's reaction to fate's designs. Gianni's revolt, his attempt to find a mistress, is not a sympathetic goal, and though it leads to some funny scenes and seems natural, Gianni's objective doesn't get to the root of his problems. Without giving too much away, I will say that the last collection of shots of the film perhaps provide a worthy resolution to the film, but the ship sailed by the time the end could rescue it.
Overall, while the idea for The Salt of Life could be dramatically or comically compelling, the execution didn't work for me.
In "The Salt of Life," Gianni(Gianni Di Gregorio, who also directed and co-wrote with Valerio Attanasio) struggles on a monthly basis to pay his rent and has to dip into his pension to do so. All of which he blames on his nonagenarian mother's (Valeria De Franciscis) less than frugal spending that includes 150 euro bottles of wine that he seeks to curb by having her sign over power of attorney to him. What said attorney and friend Alfonso(Alfonso Santagata) thinks is the cure for all Gianni's ails is a mistress, namely Kristina(Kristina Cepraga), his mother's nurse and young enough to be his granddaughter.
"The Salt of Life" is a gentle and droll comedy of manners about somebody whose life did not turn out exactly as he hoped. In present day Italy, it turns out he is not the only one. In fact, a trickle down effect is in play there where young graduates are out of work for the long term, their parents have to retire early and their grandparents are living longer than ever. To be honest, that's not really their fault, though, as they should spend their money however they like while Gianni should help his mother more.
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