Starring: Penelope Cruz, Luana Giuliani, Vincenzo Amato
Synopsis: Set in 1970s Rome, the fiction tracks the plight of a nuclear family, consisting of an unhappy married couple: Clara (a moody expatriate Spaniard) and Felice (a businessman cheating on Clara with his secretary) and their children Adriana, Gino, and Diana. The eldest child, 12-year-old female Adriana experiences gender dysphoria and identifies as a male and goes by the name of Andrea (a primarily masculine name in Italian). Andrea develops a crush for Sara, a girl who accepts Andrea’s gender identity. Upon a shared sense of being outsiders, Andrea and Clara bond closer.
What a timely film. The film delves into the struggle of Andrea, who is coming to terms with his gender dysphoria. Luana Giuliani gives an impeccable performance as Andrea. Luana brings depth to the role. You can feel Andrea’s struggle and pain almost immediately on screen.
There are some rough scenes in the film regarding rape and abuse. But on the flipside, there are beautiful black and white musical numbers between Andrea and his mother, Clara, that are fun to watch. The numbers really bring out who Andrea wants to be seen as. There’s a particular scene involving a bunch of kids getting lost and water hoses that will leave you in stitches.
Let’s talk about Penelope Cruz. She is magnificent as Clara. She commands the screen and your attention when she graces it. Dare I say she’s on the path to being the next Sophia Loren?
“L’immensita” is a complex film. It’s beautiful. It’s tough to watch. But I hope Oscar voters remember this during awards season.
“L’immensita” is available to Rent/Stream on Vudu, Amazon, Google Play and Apple TV.