The Last Kiss (7/10)

 Copyright © 2003 by Tony Medley


The Last Kiss is a long (114 minutes), but fast-paced, Italian romantic comedy directed by Gabriele Muccino.  It tells the story of thirty year-old Carlo (Stefano Accorsi) and his  girl friend of three years, now pregnant, Giulia (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), along with Carlo’s four friends, all of whom are going through crises developing into, and accepting the responsibilities of becoming, adults. 

 Take Adriano (Georgio Pasotti), who doesn’t like his new fatherhood and wants out of his volatile marriage with Livia (Sabrina Impacciatore), who never stops nagging him.  Or Paolo (Claudio Santamaria), who foolishly continues his pursuit of a former girl friend, who dumped him, and is additionally burdened by his dying father and his hatred of his apparent anointment as successor to run the family business.  The other two are similarly bothered. They all want to run away from their adulthood by buying an old camper and driving it to some far-off, exotic land.

 Despite what starts out as a contented domestic relationship with the beautiful Giulia, Carlo becomes enamored of eighteen-year-old Francesca (Martino Stella), who comes on to him at Marco’s wedding.  Carlo’s head is turned and he’s easily pulled into pursuing the gorgeous high school temptress, despite Giulia’s promise to kill him if he ever cheated on her. 

 Everyone in this film has relationship problems and that includes Giula’s mother, Anna (Stefania Sandrellia) who constantly complains that her husband of three decades, Emelia (Luigi Diberti), pays no attention to her.  She desperately goes in search of romance with a younger lover, Eugenio (Luigi Diberti), outside her marriage.  Eugenio handles her pursuit with devastating gentleness.

 Muccino has directed a snappy, intellectual comedy. The smart, upbeat music, composed by Paolo Buonvino, quick cuts, and clever dialogue combine to seamlessly create an involving entertainment with bite.  The dialogue and the cuts are so swift that your attention does not wane.  In fact, the problem I had was that the dialogue is so quick and snappy that the subtitles didn’t remain on the screen long enough to read them and watch the actors at the same time.  Unless you’re a speed-reader, you either have to miss the acting or some of the dialogue.  And you don’t want to miss watching Giulia’s blazing eyes near the climax.

 Regardless, this is a clever, wise examination of maturation and relationships, told in a comical vein.  It’s an enjoyable, well-written, intelligent film that continues to surprise and entertain right up to the last second.

 The End