This film has so much going for it--exquisite art direction, beautiful costumes, wonderful cinematography, and a loving and meticulous attention to detail in depicting a turn of the century (1900) wedding in a small Italian town--that I would rate it higher but for the somewhat implausible screenplay.
Without giving plot details away, suffice it to say that the film begins with an interesting premise as it explores the betrothal rituals of this particular time and place that reduced women to objects essentially bartered away to the highest bidder. The heroine of the story, played by the absolutely exquisite Ines Sastre, rebels on her arranged-marriage wedding day, and the plot continues from there.
Diego Abatantuono, no slouch himself in the looks department, plays a long absent stranger who, having made his fortune in America, returns to the town and ends up participating in the ceremony. Things get more complicated from there.
Both actors are outstanding in their roles, but in the end a willing suspension of disbelief is needed to accept the film's conclusion. However, the visuals are so stunning, the period detail is so layered, and the principal actors (as well as the those who play the townspeople, all given their moments) are so fascinating to watch that almost all is forgiven.
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