Dan Jardine

For Roseanna

Apollo Score: 77
Users’ Rating: 74 (16 votes)

Italia: is any nation more romanticized on film? In recent years, Italy has been particularly well treated by British period pieces like Room With A View, Where Angels Fear to Tread, A Month By the Lake, and Enchanted April, where Italy becomes a magical land where repressed upper class Brits go to have their inhibitions peeled back like the skin of a luscious grape.

For Roseanna (aka Roseanna’s Grave), however, is more in the tradition of Il Postino and Mediterraneo, as it follows the lives and loves of odd-ball citizens of a small Italian community. The film is beautiful to look at: both people and places are gorgeous. However, there are times when you can feel the screenwriters invoking these earlier film’s spirits, particularly when For Roseanna strains to be both quirky and pithy.

Still, For Roseannna is a lovely little film with enough ahhhhh – sweet touches, fall-down funny scenes and kleenex-dabbing moments to overcome some of its minor flaws. The film’s plot hinges around the attempts of Marcello (hilariously played by Jean Reno) to save one of the three remaining sites in the church cemetery for his beloved, dying wife, played with earthiness by Mercedes Ruehl (but for one so sick, she sure looks like a million bucks).

The movie’s best and worst farcical moments revolve around Marcello’s manic attempts to keep the citizens of his hamlet alive long enough to save the plot space. Accompanying these slapstick scenes are others with his wife that resonate with romanticism and sadness. The subplots vary in quality and appropriateness: the plot involving the gangster’s search for his money is both hilarious and absurd, while the plot involving the bitter ex-suitor of Roseanna is well acted, but belongs in a different, more serious movie.

Regardless, For Roseanna is a touching, well acted and sumptuous piece of celluloid.