Malena

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Released 2000

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Movie Summary

Director:
Giuseppe Tornatore
Released:
2000
Rating:
R
Malena is a film directed by Giuseppe Tornatore and is set in fascist Italy during World War II. It follows the life of the beautiful Malena (Monica Bellucci) as seen through the eyes of the teenage boy Renato (Giuseppe Sulfaro). Malena, whose husband is off fighting in the war, goes about town seemingly unaware of the admiring glances she constantly receives from the local men. Renato becomes particularly enchanted with Malena and even takes to spying on her through the window in her basement apartment. When Malena's husband dies, the newly single woman finds herself the center of town gossip. Lustful men and jealous women accuse Malena of scandalous behavior. Renato, who sees her as a perfect woman, struggles to balance his fantasies with what he has witnessed and heard about Malena. Meanwhile, Malena must survive the torture of the town gossips and find her place in a world that is seemingly full of enemies.

Metacritic Score

  • 90

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    Malena the film is as beautiful and seductive as its heroine, with its ravishing Lajos Koltai cinematography and sweepingly romantic Ennio Morricone score.

  • 70

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    What begins as a blushing, priapic opera buffa about coming of age turns into a verismo shocker, before softening into something mellower.

  • 50

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    There is noting quite so awkward as a film that is one thing while it pretends to be another.

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