MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release date: March, 1997
Marcello Jean Reno
Roseanna Mercedes Ruehl
Cecilia Polly Walker
Antonio Mark Frankel
Director Paul Weiland
Writer Saul Turteltaub
Director of Photography Henry Braham
Editor Martin Walsh
Music Trevor Jones
A radiant romantic comedy that combines knockabout farce with heartfelt emotion. ROSEANNA’S GRAVE pairs rising international star Jean Reno and Oscar-winner Mercedes Ruehl as Marcello and Roseanna, a husband and wife whom death will, perhaps, only nominally part. Steeped in the timeless beauty and warm sensuality of a small Italian village, Roseanna’s Grave is a celebration of life and love in the face of death that is both poignant and delightful.
Marcello, a trattoria proprietor in the tiny village of Travento, is a man with a truly life-or-death mission.He is determined to secure his terminally ill wife’s dearest wish: to be buried next to their long-deceased daughter in the local cemetery, which has three plots left(in Italy, you can’t buy and reserve a burial plot prior to a person’s death – PW). While Marcello goes to increasingly extreme lengths to keep everyone in the village alive, well and out of his wife’s intended graveyard spot, ROSEANNA occupies herself with taking care of her husband’s life after her death.
What is original about this film is that it was produced with all American money, in Europe, with a British director.
ROSEANNA’s Grave has the authentic feel of an Italian Film, where the characters speak English. Thus, we have the best of both possible worlds: A clever, funny “foreign” comedy in which we do not have to deal with subtitles or dubbing.
The comedy can only be described as purely and utterly charming. The humor is perfect, and visually, the film (in CinemaScope) is stunning.
Putting the film’s brilliant direction and stunning look aside, at the heart of ROSEANNA’s Grave are two brilliant performances. Jean Reno, seen in LA FEMME NIKITA, THE PROFESSIONAL and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE is a splendid comic. In addition, he exudes an aura of warmth and honesty that give power to the film. Mercedes Ruehl, who won the Academy Award for THE FISHER KING is outstanding as the dying wife. Why don’t we see more of this wonderful actress?
I suspect that this film may well be up for an Academy Award next year if the Academy can figure out what country gets credit for making the film.
An utterly charming, life-affirming romantic comedy with a unique international flavor.