L' Ora di Religione (Il Sorriso di Mia Madre) (The Religion Hour) (My Mother's Smile) (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

L' Ora di Religione (Il Sorriso di Mia Madre) (The Religion Hour) (My Mother's Smile) (2002)

L' Ora di Religione (Il Sorriso di Mia Madre) (The Religion Hour) (My Mother's Smile) (2002)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Castellitto's performance is the strong center of this surreal, fascinating film about a man's questioning of his religious beliefs and his relation to his mother.

L' Ora di Religione (Il Sorriso di Mia Madre) (The Religion Hour) (My Mother's Smile) Photos

Movie Info

Ernesto (Sergio Castellitto of Va Savoir) is a successful artist and devout atheist who finds out that his mother, whom he despised, is being considered for sainthood. Ernesto's young son, Leonardo (Alberto Mondini), influenced by his religion teacher, has developed a fear of God, whom he tries to shoo away like a pest. "If He's everywhere," Leonardo reasons, "then I'm not free -- even for a second." Ernesto's estranged wife, Irene (Jacqueline Lustig), encourages Leonardo's faith, and seems to be on the side of Ernesto's family, who are greedily clamoring to get Ernesto to participate in the canonization process. His mentally unstable brother, Egidio (Donato Placido), who will speak only to Ernesto, murdered their mother years earlier, and holds the key to her beatification. At a party, Ernesto insults a deranged monarchist, Conte Bulla (Toni Bertorelli), who then challenges him to a duel. Ernesto goes to complain to Leonardo's religion teacher, expecting to find an ugly old woman, and instead finds Diana (Chiara Conti), an impossibly beautiful young woman who admires his work. Ernesto meets the Cardinal (Maurizio Donadoni), and tells the man that his mother was "stupid" and "had no passion." "Loving someone is the best way to declare my atheism," he declares. But as he gets caught up in all the intrigue, Ernesto recognizes a connection to his hated mother that he cannot escape; he has the same mocking smile. Marco Bellocchio's My Mother's Smile was shown at the 2002 New York Film Festival and at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, where it won a Special Mention for the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.

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Cast

Maurizio Donadoni
as Cardinal Piumini
Pietro De Silva
as Curzio Sandali
Renzo Rossi
as Baldracchi
Gianni Schicchi
as Filippo Argenti
Bruno Cariello
as Don Pugni
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Critic Reviews for L' Ora di Religione (Il Sorriso di Mia Madre) (The Religion Hour) (My Mother's Smile)

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (12)

Enigmatic and mesmerizing.

May 12, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Miami Herald
Top Critic

An artful look at religious hypocrisy, interfamily dynamics and the way people wrestle with personal history long after the original events are over.

September 9, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

It's a bit of a mess but strong stuff nevertheless.

August 5, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Exceptionally handsome, somber film.

July 22, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
Seattle Times
Top Critic

It is a riveting, rich portrait of an atheist who thinks he's resistant to faith but may be in the throes of a feverish conversion.

May 20, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

In the central role, Castellitto's powerfully focused performance manages to keep the complex drama grounded.

May 20, 2005 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for L' Ora di Religione (Il Sorriso di Mia Madre) (The Religion Hour) (My Mother's Smile)

½

[font=Century Gothic]In "My Mother's Smile", Ernesto(Sergio Castellitto, who is superb), an artist, is dumbstruck when he is approached one day with the news that his mother is in the final stages of being nominated for sainthood by the Vatican and is asked to testify. This only causes old wounds to be reopened since his mother was killed some years before by his mentally ill brother. Making matters even worse, this is a campaign that has been waged for three years and this is the first that Ernesto is hearing of it.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]Further putting Ernesto's [/font][font=Century Gothic]atheism to the test, is his 7-year old son, Leonardo(Alberto Mondini), having been taught some very mature theories on the nature of life and death by his religious teacher. Ernesto goes to his school to confront her...[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]Written and directed by Marco Bellocchio, "My Mother's Smile" is a provocative and elegant movie about how religion attempts to twist the mundane into the supernatural for its own purposes, aided by the hypocrisy of those who seek to benefit. And through Ernesto, the movie has the perfect vessel to comment on how status is applied in society.[/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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