My Brother Is an Only Child

"Good"

My Brother Is an Only Child Review


Scripted by Stefano Rulli and Sandro Petraglia, the duo behind 2005's commendable The Best of Youth, Italian director Daniele Luchetti's awkwardly-titled My Brother Is an Only Child starts off in a very odd place before being coaxed back to familiar environs. In telling the story of two brothers on feuding sides of the political spectrum in 1960s Italy, Luchetti begins on the side of pro-Il Duce fascism before getting wrapped up in his own tempered version of post-collegiate radicalism.

Young Accio (Vittorio Emanuele Propizio) yearns for the priesthood, but not as much as his young body yearns for the bodies of Italian movie actresses, whom he discovers through small photos. When he can't get a straight cure from the clerics, Accio goes secular and takes up a kindred cause: fascism. His older brother Manrico (Riccardo Scamarcio) is celebrated by their parents for causing a riot at work under the banner of communism and unionization, but a teenaged Accio, played by the talented Elio Germano, takes chastisement at every turn for his loyalty to the ways of Mussolini.

A local worker and faithful fascist named Mario (Luca Zangaretti) takes Accio under his wing, and the hormonal whippersnapper begins to take part in demonstrations, minor acts of rebellion and even a field trip to Mussolini's grave. Then he meets Manrico's communist girlfriend Francesca (the luminous Diane Fleri), who gets his engines running while debating the state of their ravaged government. When it becomes obvious that Francesca wants only to be with her dear Manrico, Accio takes the low road and begins to sleep with Bella (Anna Bonaiuto), a beautiful older woman who also happens to be Mario's wife.

Luchetti, Rulli, and Petraglia rudimentarily intertwine political and sexual awakening but they do so in an engaging, highly entertaining manner. Accio's eventual abandonment of fascist ideology is at first a matter of familial bonds, but it ultimately becomes the violence of the fascist brotherhood. While beatings and a set of car torchings by the radical right are devious, the violence and radicalism of the left is romanticized, if only because it's Manrico who gets the attention of both Francesca and their mother (an excellent Angela Finocchiaro) while Accio only summons one kiss from Francesca and grief from mom. Another scene of partisanism, though staged brilliantly, shows the two parties clashing at a makeshift performance of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." The brute fascists don't appreciate the classics.

Despite these hindrances and a rather vacuous interpretation of post-WWII Italian tensions, Luchetti crafts an entertaining, gorgeously-shot film out of familial and sexual barbs. Fleri plays wonderfully with Germano and Scamarcio, which gives the romantic triptych a startling charm. Claudio Collepiccolo's amorous, handheld camera gives the work a rush and a kinetic feeling; You feel at any time the current scene will trample over the forthcoming scene. Its politics firmly glib, My Brother Is an Only Child works best as an Italian dramedy with its history used as window dressing and any original thought kept happily to itself.

Aka Mio fratello è figlio unico.

You gotta fight for your right to Mussolini.



My Brother Is an Only Child

Facts and Figures

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th April 2007

Box Office Worldwide: $6.5M

Budget: $5M

Distributed by: ThinkFilm

Production compaines: Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Cattleya, Babe Film, Film Commission Torino-Piemonte

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Fresh: 53 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Daniele Luchetti

Starring: as Accio Benassi, as Manrico Benassi, Diane Fleri as Francesca, as Amelia Benassi, Massimo Popolizio as Ettore Benassi, Ascanio Celestini as Father Cavalli, Alba Rohrwacher as Violetta Benassi, Vittorio Emanuele Propizio as Accio teenage, Claudio Botosso as Teacher Montagna, Antonino Bruschetta as Bella Nastri, as Luca Nastri, Pasquale Sammarco as Father Tosi, Lorenzo Pagani as Bertini, Matteo Sacchi as Biliardino boy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.