Hand of God, Bella!

Hand of God, written and directed by Oscar 2022 nominee Paolo Sorrentino, is bella(!), but if you’re not a football/soccer fan, here’s the title explanation. Maradona, one of the greatest soccer players of all time, scored a controversial goal once which was disputed for a hand violation, but then allowed. Later, this was deemed the Hand of God. Of course, there’s the tragic back story to this mythical figure including drug use and alcoholism, but Paolo concentrates only on his heyday. Soccer weighs in heavily as a through line to the Italian setting and culture’s community spirit.
The title also refers to another subplot regarding a woman (Luisa Ranieri) in a volatile relationship who, desperate to become pregnant, seeks out a fertility blessing from a religious figure.
The Italian culture intrigues me, the histrionic passions, the loudness, the hypocrisy (infidels who love their wives), the mothering (and according to this film sister to brother) with zero boundaries.
What the heck is this movie about, you ask? Well, it’s a coming of age story at its core, with what makes a happy marriage being a sub category (does cheating help or hurt a marriage?), a long with what I view as a harsh indictment of Italy’s treatment of women.
Sorrentino showed us his artistry in Youth (LOVED IT) and Grand Beauty (Bafta winner). Here he repeats.
Small quibble that there were a few superfluous though highly artistic scenes. In addition, there was also one that seemed to be missing an end shot: the back shot of Filippo Scotti, as the main character Fabietto, which takes place in the schoolyard/soccer field. To show his face in the fianle of this scene would have added to the pathos.
Scotti’s hang dog emotional performance is amazing and he deserved his Best Emerging Actor Award at the Venice Film Fest. Speaking of which, Teresa Saponangelo (who plays Fabietto’s mother) also was awarded Best Actress.
The movie overall is gorgeous and if I had watched it in one sitting (the problem with Netflix at home is you’re not buckled in) I am sure I would have been more moved.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at irun2eatpizza@hotmail.com

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