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My House in Umbria

1 rating: 2.0
A movie
1 review about My House in Umbria

"Happiness is often an illusion."

  • Jan 2, 2009
  • by
Wealthy Emily Delahunty (Maggie Smith) is traveling on the train to Milan when a bomb explodes in her compartment, killing several people. The survivors - an elderly British General, a young German man, an 8-year old American girl, and Emily - recover in the same hospital and, having nowhere to go, go to live with Emily in her large home in Umbria. The four enjoy their life together until the day that Emily's withdrawn uncle (Chris Cooper) comes to take her away.

This-made-for-HBO movie has all the right ingredients to make a memorable film except one - a good script. Nothing much happens in the movie after the explosion, the quartet just luxuriates in living the good life in an elegant villa. The only character that is developed is that of Emily, and Maggie Smith gives her usual first-rate performance and is truly fascinating. But she's hampered by a plot that goes nowhere; it just wanders aimlessly looking like an Italian travelogue and then ends.

The scenery is, of course, breathtaking and Smith wears a very chic wardrobe, but we have no reason to care about the characters. There is no drama or tension; the whole story proceeds in such a lackadaisical fashion that I wanted to quit watching, but hoped (in vain) that it was all leading to something worthwhile. Disappointing.

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January 02, 2009
Wasn't the point of this that you can find happiness taking care of others? The old man caretaker was in love with Emily, Emily needed people to love her and not add to the trauma that haunts her. She nurtures a relationship with a young girl, seeing that by giving the young girl love and security it might repair the damage she carries in her heart from her own child hood. By writing romantic novels she is able to create a fictitious reality. Each book the heroine is her and the hero is one of the many wrong choices in her life gone right. The German man and love story behind the explosion was about how if you change your environment you can change your believes. He was involved with that young woman and tried to adapt who he is to make her happy, and when in Umbria he bonded with a young girl in doing so he changed his life- if for a short time. After watching this movie I really wanted to travel to Italy and "be whoever I want to be". I think this was a fabulous movie and yet I am a HUGE fan of Maggie Smith and believe her to be very good in this movie, slower plot and all.
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