A Castle in Italy

A Castle in Italy

(Un château en Italie)

French-Italian actress Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi writes, directs and stars in this drama set in northern Italy and Paris. She plays Louise, a former actress struggling to hold her once-wealthy family together and keep them connected to their beautiful estate in Piedmonte. ... More

The film is inspired by two seismic events in Bruni-Tedeschi's life - the 2006 death of her brother from AIDS and her 2009 adoption of a baby with her partner.Hide

Flicks Review

“A family is forced to sell their Italian home” suggests the official plot description of this French film. That’s not what A Castle in Italy is about, but is possibly the only storyline it maintains throughout. The film portrays the rubble of a dysfunctional once-aristocratic French-Italian family: two middle aged children and their mother, denying debt, health and reality in tragically unbelievable fashion.... More

It’s always a risk when filmmakers make films about filmmakers. There is an assumption that the audience are as fascinated by their trials and tribulations as they are. A few such films work harder to ensure the story and characters compensate. Too many languish in an unappealing world of frustrated creatives and fragile self-esteem. Such is the case here in a film neither as funny nor tragic as it believes itself to be.

The notional subjects are Louise, a forty-something former actress who yearns for a baby, and Nathan, the disenfranchised twenty-something actor she becomes involved with.

From Louise explaining IVF to bewildered nuns to a man fainting from AIDS-related complications, the film lurches from farce to melodrama and back again like the drunk bankrupt Serge who staggers into the film around the half hour mark. The only recurring theme is the self-absorption of the central characters, who remain largely unlikeable and unengaging right to the tacky, unearned metaphoric conclusion.

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi wrote, directed and stars in this partially autobiographical film as Louise, who is frankly a largely unappealing mess from start to finish. Sadly so is the film about her and her castle.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

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The Press Reviews

60% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Probably the worst film of the Cannes competition so far: a smug, twee confection about a family losing their house Full Review

  • Drowns its sincerity in self-consciousness. Full Review

  • More than a mere affirmative-action entry in this year’s Cannes competition (where it is the lone pic directed by a woman), this low-key but pleasing arthouse item will earn more audience goodwill than much of the Croisette’s more fashionably outre product. Full Review

  • A heavily symbolic Chekovian tale of family life in times of change... it looks great but for me the main drawback was the director's own very mannered performance. Full Review