Tea With Mussolini

"Good"

Tea With Mussolini Review


Franco Zeffirelli has assembled a delightful ensemble of drawing room eccentricsfor "Tea With Mussolini," his semi-autobiographical ode to hischildhood in fascist-era Italy.

The channel for his relatively light story of patriotism,war and personal independence is an orphan named Luca (7-year-old rookieCharlie Lucas), who drifts in and out of the lives of a resolute gaggleof oddball expatriate English women sipping tea in Florence as despotismrises around them.

The cast is made up of the acting profession's classiestold broads. Joan Plowright ("Enchanted April," "101Dalmatians"), does the wise, cookies-and-milkgranny type she's become associated with in recent years. The wonderfulMaggie Smith ("A Room With a View," "TheFirst Wives Club"), plays an autocraticaristocrat who blinds herself to the madness of Mussolini's politics outof a erroneously presumed friendship with the dictator. The even more wonderfulJudi Dench (Oscar winner for "Shakespeare In Love") is an aspiring painter with apenchant for "restoring" local frescoes, volunteering her meagerabilities with the brush.

They're joined in helping raise the boy by two "vulgarAmericans" -- Cher, playing a nouveau riche flamboyant with a loudcouture wardrobe and an even louder mouth, and Lily Tomlin as an irreverentlywitty, blatantly butch, cigar-chomping archeologist -- who can't help butsteal every scene they're in from their demure British counterparts.

Zeffirelli employs a lot of canned, "Masterpiece Theatre"sentimentality and the film seems at time little more than aimless wartimenostalgia. That is, until the women are placed under house arrest and Luca,now a teenager played by another newcomer Baird Wallace, joins the resistanceand starts smuggling Jews out of Italy.

But the writer-director's sense of time and place are impeccable(Italy itself is practically a character) and the performances he commandsbrilliant, with special commendation to the remarkable range of emotionand humor shown by Cher, who looks 100-percent period in finger-waved hair,and to Tomlin, who gives the best performance of her career



Tea With Mussolini

Facts and Figures

Run time: 117 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th May 1999

Budget: $12M

Distributed by: MGM/UA

Production compaines: Cattleya, Cineritmo, Film and General Productions, Medusa Produzione

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Elsa Armistan, as Lady Hester Random, as Arabella, as Georgie Rockwell, as Mary Wallace, Paolo Seganti as Vittorio Fanfanni

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.