Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Italy/United Kingdom, 1998. Fiction Films, Navert Film, Mediaset, Tele+, British Broadcasting Corporation. Story by James Lasdun, Screenplay by Clare Peploe, Bernardo Bertolucci. Cinematography by Fabio Cianchetti. Produced by Massimo Cortesi. Music by Alessio Vlad. Production Design by Gianni Silvestri. Costume Design by Metka Kosak. Film Editing by Jacopo Quadri.
Thandie Newton escapes political turbulence in Africa to work in Rome as a house cleaner for a professional pianist (David Thewlis) while studying medicine. Thewlis announces one day that he loves her and will do anything for her, so she requests that he help get her husband out of jail in Africa and be sent home to her.
Bernardo Bertolucci fills this beautiful film with his usual potent erotic imagery, constantly sensual without ever being overly descriptive. The story is given too much room to wander, unevenly exploring too little of Thewlis’ motivation while fully delving into Newton’s mind, but the general feeling of it is so strong that the film’s very visible flaws are no nuisance.
Newton herself has never been more endearing; she is usually a hard nut for directors to crack and has never given so personal a performance.
Toronto International Film Festival: 1998