Goddess of Fortune
Jacob Richardson | 2/10/2020
The Italian Film Festival kicks off with a progessive Italian family drama.
Alessandro (Edoardo Leo) and Arturo (Stefano Accorsi) are in a long term relationship, living in their Rome apartment. When Annamaria (Jasmine Trinca), a longtime friend of them both, arrives and asks the couple to take care of her children while she stays in hospital for some checks, Alessandro and Arturo are faced with an unprecedented challenge for their relationship. As the stresses mount, the relationship between the two men reaches a point of no return.
Goddess of Fortune is a film that is tough to suspend your disbelief for, and as an exercise in Italian filmmaking this doesn’t feel like the best treatment of the material. It struggles to navigate tonally between quality drama and broad comedy, instead serving up a subpar mixture of both.
From a performance perspective, Trinca struggles to bring the same complexity to her character that Accorsi and Leo do. Her arc is much more tragic than those two, but she also has much less screentime with which to craft a lasting impact. Comparatively, Accorsi and Leo do a tremendous job of capturing the complexities of their unravelling relationship, and their grief surrounding their friend.
This variation is true too of the tone of the film. Director Ferzan Ozpetek opens with a pretty dark and harrowing scene, then immediately flips to a vibrant, inclusive party. The shifts between broad humor with Alessandro, Arturo and the kids, and then dark drama when it comes to Annamaria and her family, often feel forced and unwieldy. It is tough to get a handle on these transitions, and then indeed get a handle on the film as a whole, because the tone is so varied.
The film ends with quite an upbeat caper, smothered in callbacks to more metaphorical family drama, and it is a fitting end to a film that throughout its duration struggles to define what it is. The drama between Arturo and Alessandro is probably the most on paper compelling element of the film, and interestingly an unlikely tale to be captured in a non-Italian film. But oddly enough, Goddess of Fortune finds the most success with its family dynamic between Arturo, Alessandro and the two kids. As they form a bond together, it’s truly heartwarming. The little moments of them bonding after a fight, or laughing together over homework, and how these two surprise children bring a formerly distraught and drifting couple together, is the highlight of the movie.
Goddess of Fortune is an uneven film to be sure, with moments of levity that bring joy. Either way, this is a film with content unlikely to be seen in a mainstream American film, and tackling of that is worth a watch.