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My Brother Is An Only Child (Mio Fratello E Figlio Unico) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner02/04/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 108 mins

Engaging, sharply directed drama with a strong script and superb performances, though you occasionally feel you're missing out on a deeper meaning.

What's it all about?
Elio Germano stars as Accio (a nickname meaning Bully) Benassi, a hot-headed, working class teenager who's grown up in the shadow of his older, better-looking brother Manrico (Riccardo Scamarcio) and his musically gifted sister (Alba Rohrwacher). As the left and the right struggle for control of post-war Italy, Accio and Manrico find themselves on opposing sides, a situation that isn't helped when Accio develops a crush on his brother's free-spirited, bourgeois girlfriend, Francesca (Diane Fleri).

The Good
The performances are excellent: Accio is a frustrating and frequently annoying character but Germano manages to keep him sympathetic, which is no mean feat considering the fact that he's a wannabe fascist. There's also strong support from Riccardo Scamarcio, who looks exactly like an Italian Jude Law (though, thankfully, a Jude Law who can act).

Directed by Daniele Luchetti, the plot has an engagingly chaotic feel to it that mirrors the state of political flux at the centre of the film. As a result, the film is packed with several terrific scenes, including: Accio losing his virginity to the wife of his political mentor (Anna Bonaiuto) under a Mussolini bedspread; Accio attempting to charm Francesca for the first time; and a superb orchestra scene where a Marxist interpretation of Beethoven's Ode to Joy is interrupted by a fascist group bent on defending Beethoven's purity.

The Bad
The only real problem with My Brother Is An Only Child is that you are likely to feel that the deeper political significance of the film is going over your head, particularly if you're not schooled in Italian history.

Worth seeing?
In short, despite the unfamiliar setting, My Brother is an Only Child is a thoroughly engaging Italian drama with terrific performances and impressive direction throughout. Recommended.

Film Trailer

My Brother Is An Only Child (Mio Fratello E Figlio Unico) (15)
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Content updated: 20/10/2017 00:42

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