The Children Are Watching Us

"Extraordinary"

The Children Are Watching Us Review


In order to achieve true cinephile status you must spend some time watching the classic Italian World War II-era neorealist films of the great Vittorio De Sica. If you've already seen his devastating masterpiece The Bicycle Thief, then move on to one of one of his lesser known but equally excellent dramas, The Children Are Watching Us.

The title alone is a serious guilt trip, De Sica's condemnation of immoral adult behavior that ends up damaging the innocent children who inevitably suffer the consequences of Mom and Dad's bad decisions. In this case, the adorable victim is five-year-old Prico (Luciano De Ambrosis), a wide-eyed only child who revels in the adoration of his parents (Emilio Cigoli and Isa Pola) and his nanny. Though it's wartime, Prico is insulated from the world outside until one day, on a walk in the park, his mother slips behind a tree and chats with a strange man (Adriano Rimoldi).

Prico has no idea who this man is, but he immediately intuits that the stranger is a disruptive force in his tidy little universe. Sure enough, Mom flies the coop with her lover the next day, leaving Dad, who is not a particularly secure or forceful person, devastated not only by his cuckoldry but also by the insidious gossip that sweeps instantly through his apartment block. Meanwhile, Prico just wants to know where Mama went.

Eventually she returns, but a reconciliatory seaside family vacation goes horribly wrong when Dad has to return to the city early, leaving Mom and Prico alone. Her lover shows up, and it all starts over again. This time, her betrayal of her son is even worse.

De Sica elicits a bravura performance out of a child so young he probably isn't even sure what acting is. De Ambrosis is amazing; you simply can't take your eyes off him. Be sure to check out The Criterion Collection DVD's extras, which include an interview with the now elderly De Ambrosis as he fondly recalls the kindness of the cast, the crew, and De Sica himself. Poor kid. He spends most of the movie in abject distress. It's good to know the adults around him were watching out for his well-being.

The final minutes of The Children Are Watching Us comprise one of those searing movie moments, with images you'll never forget. It's at this point that the title of the film really packs its punch. As an adult you'll feel guilty by association, and if you're a parent, you'll walk away from this drama reevaluating your relationship with your kids. Powerful stuff in beautiful black and white from a master storyteller supremely attuned to the tragedies of the human condition.

Aka I Bambini ci guardano.



The Children Are Watching Us

Facts and Figures

Run time: 84 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th April 1947

Distributed by: Criterion Collection

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Franco Magli

Starring: Emilio Cigoli as Andrea, Isa Pola as Nina, Luciano De Ambrosis as Pricò, Ernesto Calindri as Claudio

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

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.