The Italian


The Italian

Critics Consensus

Poignant and unforgettable, The Italian stands out from other European melodramas. Like its extraordinary child lead, this Russian drama about an orphan's search for his birth mother is small in size and monumental in pathos.



Total Count: 93


Audience Score

User Ratings: 26,786
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Movie Info

An abandoned Russian child forsakes a life of luxury in the name of finding his true mother in director Andrei Kravchuk's affecting drama. Vanya is a six-year-old boy who is about to be adopted by a loving Italian couple, but this is a crucial moment in his life, and there are choices to be made. Will Vanya be content to simply spend his days basking in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun, or will his desire to know his true mother slowly eat away at him from the inside for the rest of his life? Though he eventually decides that in order to move on with his life he must first seek out his birth mother, Vanya must learn to read the file containing the information he will need to locate her. As Vanya sets out on the ultimate journey of self-discovery, he is about to find out that the world of children is a universe unto itself, a universe where the longings of the heart often overpower the ability to reason. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi


Yuri Itskov
as Headmaster
Dariya Lesnikova
as Mukhin's Mother
Tatyana Zakharova
as Cast Member
Irina Osnovina
as Cast Member
Elena Malinonskaya
as Cast Member
Andrei Dezhonov
as Cast Member
Anatoly Agroskin
as Cast Member
Vladimir Kuteinikov
as Inmate Of Lesgorsky Children's Home
Sergey Zkuhovich
as Inmate Of Lesgorsky Children's Home
Sergey Zhukovich
as Inmate Of Lesgorsky Children's Home
Dmitry Konokotov
as Inmate Of Lesgorsky Children's Home
Diana Shishlyaeva
as Inmate Of Lesgorsky Children's Home
Olga Lysenkova
as Inmate Of Lesgorsky Children's Home
Vladimir Ryazantsev
as Inmate Of Lesgorsky Children's Home
Alexei Koshevoy
as Inmate Of Lesgorsky Children's Home
View All

News & Interviews for The Italian

Critic Reviews for The Italian

All Critics (93) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (85) | Rotten (8)

  • Even when Kravchuck lets the story drift, the boy is a solid anchor.

    Jan 24, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Andrei Kravchuk's film is sensitive to the hilt and pleasingly attuned to the guileless outlook of its hero.

    Jan 24, 2008 | Rating: 4/6 | Full Review…

    David Jenkins

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • This 2005 story about a Russian boy whose mother has given him up may be derivative, but it's still engrossing, largely because of its appealing juvenile lead, Kolya Spiridonov.

    Dec 4, 2007 | Full Review…
  • This film is about many things, but the magic key that unlocks the treasure chest is literacy.

    Apr 30, 2007 | Full Review…
  • At times, the difficulties that Vanya encounters strain credulity. The Italian doesn't bother to infuse its characters with complex motivations. They're either Bad or Good.

    Apr 27, 2007 | Full Review…
  • The ending isn't exactly happily-ever-after, but it leaves you with a deep-down respect and affection for this determined little tyke who perseveres against all odds.

    Mar 15, 2007 | Rating: B-

Audience Reviews for The Italian

  • Mar 08, 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.
    Robert C Super Reviewer
  • Jan 02, 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.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 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.
    Richard F Super Reviewer
  • Aug 24, 2008
    terrible ending, but the story was good the ending was just to sudden after all the wait
    Paul A Super Reviewer

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