130 minute running time so at least 30 minutes too long. A homosexual love story. I guess the teenage boy had sex with the hot local girl as an experiment, but that doesn't make sense to me if I understand homosexuality correctly. I once had a poker buddy who was gay and I asked him if he ever fantasized about women, and he said, "ewwwww." But sexuality is something of a mystery so who knows.
Larry Gopnik was the kid's dad, and he told him at the end that he was gay, I guess, though he had a beautiful chain-smoking wife (who says they are "Jews of discretion," which made me laugh). And the older blonde guy (Armand Hammer, yes, an heir, supposed to be 24 here but looks closer to 30) the kid falls in love with tells him later on that he's engaged to be married (to a woman, obviously).
Anyway, gay love stories ain't gonna fly in Omaha, though the setting (an ancient villa in northern Italy) is really beautiful, and the teenage kid is appealing, since he has the Roman nose and plays piano and is fluent in three languages, at least. They have money and servants and great bones and thick wavy hair and cul-chah and everything is so fabulous and charming ... you want to puke.
Peter Rainer gets it: "... it’s rare to see a movie of this sort that is so markedly nonjudgmental, the lack of sharp conflict doesn’t make for a terribly invigorating experience. Although it ends on a powerful, bittersweet chord, the movie is a bit too determinedly soothing for comfort."
Exactly, no one has a hissy fit ... no smashed china, or schnozzes.
I like Kate Taylor's take: "... as the al fresco dining, the refreshing swims, the liberal parents and the forgiving girlfriend pile up, the effect becomes precious and the film shifts from languid to long ... this multilingual, almost-pre-AIDS idyll does not stretch credulity ... but it can try the patience." She forgot to mention the ridiculous gay couple visiting from Paris in their pastel suits.
My favorite critic, Rex, predictably loved it ... "rhapsodic and heartbreaking ... a masterpiece of subtle emotions, intense sensuality and breathtaking beauty." Oh, Rex, you old fag.