Umberto D - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Umberto D Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 18, 2012
Another neorealist masterpiece by master Vittorio de Sica, a truly heartfelt and unforgettable portrait of a poverty-stricken life in postwar Italy that avoids any sort of easy sentimentality and needs no effort to make us love and care about its struggling character.
Super Reviewer
January 26, 2007
the realism and simplicity of this film is penetrating. probably even better than de sica's slightly more well known film "bicycle thieves", umberto just has a charm that helps you resonate with his plight. the end of the film comes upon us a bit too abruptly, but the rest of the film is nearly perfect.
Super Reviewer
½ February 1, 2010
Ah, Italian Neorealism. This film was alright. The bit with the dog at the end nearly killed me. Ravage a human monstrously and I will be fine. Injure a dog, and I'm coming after your blood....
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2007
Director Vittorio De Sica and screenwriter Cesare Zavattini, show again their good sense and total mastery over pathos. Characters of exemplary moral standards who find themselves unjustly trapped inside a somber existence, condemned to indifference and oblivion.
It's been quite a long time since I saw a film so beautiful, involving and heartbreaking. I'm not embarrassed to say I broke into tears at the finale. What a splendid achievement.
Super Reviewer
January 17, 2009
Wonderful film that's at once inspiring and heart wrenching.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2008
I'm getting to the age where I really need to think hard about retirement and how I can afford it. Can't count on Social Security for much. 401K is taking a beating. Don't want to work until I'm 150. But I do have my dogs, and they are what keep me going. This movie could be the story of my life. Maybe it is the story of my life? Thank goodness for the goodness of animals. They really can save us.
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2007
Simply Perfect
Super Reviewer
½ April 30, 2008
i bawled like a baby. flike! bring tissues *sniff*
Super Reviewer
June 1, 2007
the end is heartrending, I think it would be hard to re-watch
Super Reviewer
March 4, 2007
One of the most heartwrenching films ever made.
Super Reviewer
½ April 10, 2013
A beautiful heart tugging story of a retired bureaucrat who can't make ends meet. The sequence with his dog at the end is particularly poignant.
Super Reviewer
October 14, 2011
Vittorio de Seca was a master of the neorealist style and Umberto D. is one of his many, some argue the greatest, masterpieces. The key to the neorealist movement was in utilizing real life locations and mostly ordinary people in the prominent roles. Umberto D. is played by Carlo Battisti, who was a professor and this is the only film he was featured in but yet what a wonderful performance! Battisti gives such a multifaceted portrayal of the character that you really feel for the down-and-out side but also cheer on the stubborn and prideful side too. The story itself isn't overly complex but rather tells a straight forward narrative following Umberto D. and his trusty companion, whom seems to be the only stability in his life. We see how Umberto's life has been going downward since his retirement and his surmounting back-rent forces his landlady to kick him out (in reality she simply wants to do some improvements to the house and needs his room). We then see him trying to catch a break and get the money in order to keep his room by selling his belongings, all of which the viewer knows is pointless as she wants him out, and thus setting him back all the more. Umberto after coming to this realization that he has lost his home and livelihood as well as any pride he once had, has two choices left. He can either end it all by committing suicide or carrying on into the unknown future with very little to his name, simply his dog for company. The ending can be bittersweet as there is hope but amongst a lot of hopelessness and gloom. The film is simply terrific in telling a profoundly moving story and one of the crowning jewels of the neorealist movement!
Super Reviewer
½ March 29, 2010
Neorealism is not my cup of tea. Watched this film for film theory class and it was horrible. Entertainment-wise, why would I want to watch someone's life as it would happen in reality on the big screen. If I wanted to see that I'd tape my own life. Otherwise, technically it was fine and I suppose you should see it at least once in your life. But I say that about most films.
Super Reviewer
September 19, 2006
Vittorio De Sica's neorealist presentation worked brilliantly in The Bicycle Thief both as an emotional tool and a narrative device. Umberto D. felt somewhat less genuine to me, and significantly less focused. I respect the director's vision, precision and execution, but it lacked the kind of emotional resonance I was hoping for. It's well-shot, well-paced, and orchestrated by a sure hand, but I was left feeling slightly unfulfilled by this piece.
Super Reviewer
½ April 19, 2009
Umberto D. is a classic film that tells the simple tale of a man and his dog. The train scene is simply amazing and thrilling.
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2008
I know now I have a soul, because this film tore it out. Engrossing, deeply touching and after seeing it, you feel as if you were a resident of Rome. A must see for fans of Italian cinema.
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2011
One of the best films to come out of the Italian neorealist movement.
Super Reviewer
September 14, 2008
Someone please explain it to me, what is so masterful about this movie ? I am not saying I did not like it and I do agree with the praise for the rookie lead actor, bzt apart from that, it was a solid and bleak social study of post-war Italy, more specifically the portray of an older citizen affected by circumstance.

Yet, the movie is no Capra or Wilder and I cannot see the genius in it.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2008
A shattering tale of an old pensioner who, despite of his financial needs, kept his pride. A great tear-jerker, especially the climax.
Super Reviewer
½ September 18, 2008
For those who don?t know, Neo-Realism was a movement of cinema that emerged in post-war Italy. Neo-Realist films were characterized by a very gritty style and look, they were set in the present dealt with the various social issues of post-war Italy. The films were often tragic slices of life, films trying to show all the ills that Italian society was going through at the time with the hopes of raising awareness and bringing on social change. Creation of the genre is often credited to Roberto Rossellini, but the director who really brought the movement to its full potential was Vittorio De Sica, who was sort of the Truffaut to Rossellini?s Godard. De Sica?s Undisputed masterpiece is Bicycle Thieves (sometimes called The Bicycle Thief), a tragic tale played out on the streets of Rome. De Sica?s 1952 film Umberto D isn?t quite as famous as Bicycle Thieves, but it?s almost equally respected.

The film is a sad little slice of life about an old man named Umberto Domenico Ferrari (Carlo Battisti) who?s in debt because of a cut pension. His back rent is due in a few days, and he doesn?t quite have enough money to pay. His uncaring landlord knows he can?t pay and has every intention of throwing him out on the street. Facing homelessness, Umberto considers suicide but hesitates because he doesn?t want to leave his beloved dog Flike without a master. Umberto spends most of the remainder of the film trying to find a place for Flike so he can kill himself in peace.

As you can tell from the description, this isn?t a comedy. Neo-realism is not the place to go for easy carefree viewing, but the overall message is powerful and worth the sadness one must go through. Part of what makes these movies so sad is just how realistic they are, the cast is made up of non-actors, the camera work is documentary-like, and the locations ooze of sadness.

Like in Bicycle Thieves, there is a tragic irony at the center of Umberto D, that Umberto does more to help his dog find a home than society ever did to help Umberto. Of course this isn?t leading up to a happy ending, but the ending wasn?t quite as bleak as I expected. This is classic Neo-realism, not quite the classic that Bicycle Thieves is, but still an extraordinary film.
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