The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

48° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

Newsletter

    Love alla Italiano

    It is hard to judge a sequel when you haven’t seen the much-lauded original. Such is the case with “Manual of Love 2,” the continuation of the 2005 Italian hit, “Manual of Love,” which won critical acclaim at film festivals and 11 Italian Oscars.

    Like the original, the continuation that aired this past weekend at the Staller Center was comprised of four disparate stories on various themes related to love: eros, motherhood, matrimony and “extreme” love.

    The stories are sweet, cheesy, and at times painfully embarrassing in their attempts to be light-hearted on themes that are anything but. The film encompasses stories such as an infertile couple’s attempt at in vitro fertilization, a gay couple’s rejection by one man’s father, and a young man recovering from a debilitating car crash. Given the film’s surface treatment of most of these stories, there is no doubt in our minds that the young man from the car crash will walk again or that the infertile couple will have their desired child even before the movie shows us that this is so.

    The film succeeds in the moments when it aims for sheer comedy, such as in the last story about a working class, middle-aged man who has a passionate love affair with a lithe, twenty-something young woman from Spain. At the same time, however, his “lessons about love” that he phones in to a radio show that connects all the characters in one way or another are all about love for and sacredness of the family. Mussolini would be proud.

    The actors should be commended for doing their best with a script that could have been lifted out of practically any sitcom. For many, undoubtedly seeing the eternally beautiful Monica Bellucci, a modern legend of the Italian cinema, will be enough to make the film worth watching.

    A look at the directing and writing credits of Giovanni Veronesi, the film’s director, is revealing. “For Love, Only Love,” “Viola Kisses Everybody” and “Suddenly Paradise” all attest to the writer/director’s desire to deal in fantastic love stories that leave everyone feeling gooey and mushy inside at the end, not unlike “Manual of Love 2.”

    On the other hand, it is hard to characterize “Manual of Love 2” as completely uplifting or mushy. Though the young man at the center of the “eros” story walks again after his car crash, his roommate in the hospital doesn’t. Though the infertile couple succeeds in getting pregnant, we are first subjected to all the trials they go through in hormone therapy first. And though the gay couple end up getting married in Spain, where it is legal, they do not reconcile with the estranged father.

    It is difficult, therefore, to understand exactly what Veronesi wants to say by this strange mixture of harsh reality, slapstick comedy, and campy love stories. On the other hand, the film isn’t nearly good enough to warrant taking the time to ponder. Either “Manual of Love” the original is a much better film, or the Italian populace is simply starved for romance.

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Statesman

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The Statesman

    Comments (0)

    All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *