Gianni e le donne (The Salt of Life) (2012)
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Critic Reviews for Gianni e le donne (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.
Audience Reviews for Gianni e le donne (The Salt of Life)
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.
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.
This is quite a good film that is a gentle character study of a middle-aged who's struggling to deal with the fact that he's getting old and simply is becoming invisible to those around him. The film is carried by an immensely likable performance from Gianni Di Gregorio. He does a good job at getting across the character's desperation at still trying to hold on to his past glory, or what he would consider his glory days. That is all the movie is about. Seeing Gianni and his struggles with his age. Perhaps the film could've been shorter and better, but I still very much liked it. I think it is intelligent and obviously heartfelt, perhaps it's a story that's very close to Gianni himself. The film is funny but not hilariously so and it's well-shot. It's just a well-crafted film from top to bottom. Certainly not perfect, but it's a damn good character study.
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