Ah, Tuscany: the land of rolling hills, olive oil and romance.
The perfect backdrop to dreamy movies you can escape into, and remind yourself that anything is possible when you’ve got a sun-kissed tan and naturally tousled curls.
It’s also a place whose slower pace and scenic naturescapes call us toward self-reflection and healing – or so it seems in many a movie, including Made in Italy.
Jack (Micheal Richardson) is a young art curator whose dream of running his own gallery is thwarted when his separation from his wife turns sour. She threatens to take the gallery he’d been overseeing, unless he buys it from her.
Strapped for cash, Jack takes his dad Robert (Liam Neeson, also Richardson’s real-life father) to Italy – to convince him to sell the property he’d inherited from his late wife.
Jack soon realizes his mother’s home has been left to decay over the 20 years since his last visit, and that he and his dad have some unfinished business when it comes to grieving her loss.
The movie strikes a very personal tone for father-son combo Neeson and Richardson, who lost their wife and mother Natasha Richardson in 2009 after a skiing accident.
Sadness, Humour: Real Life Emotions On Screen
Neeson has spoken briefly about the grief of losing his wife at times, but it’s clear on-screen that Made in Italy would have been a cathartic experience, even all these years later. His character Robert speaks of how art helped him deal with the traumatic loss, and gradually opens up to Jack about the devastating guilt he feels at having lost her.
Equals parts sobering, graceful and funny, in the ways only family dynamics can be, Made in Italy is a beautiful depiction of how life’s hard moments can be a catalyst for restorative change.
“Made in Italy is a beautiful depiction of how life’s hard moments can be a catalyst for restorative change.”
The Italian setting will make you long for travel, and almost feel your own grief at knowing such excursions are a while off yet. But the forced pause that both Jack and Robert experience is a timely reminder to embrace the unexpected, and see what it brings to the surface: are there priorities you need to adjust? Unspoken thoughts that need to be voiced?
Seeing Liam Neeson step back from the action flicks makes Made in Italy an absolute treat, and that he got to do it with his talented son is even better. Have fun spotting just how alike they are – and the uncanny ways they’re really different.
Made in Italy is for mature audiences, and in cinemas now.