I found the film to be visually hypnotic and very moving. I was also impressed with the film maker's story telling technique. The film brought me into the bustling street life of the Sicilian village by eye-level camera work and the comments of the people in crowded scenes, through which I was taken with the characters. Just like walking down a busy urban street anywhere with your ears and eyes open. The film made me wake up to the fact that so much American film, perhaps all contemporary film, is composed mainly of close ups with two or a few people. Not this film. There is a sequence with airplanes overhead that is absolutely dizzying without any fancy 3-D or pyrotechnic effects. Mr. Tornatore brilliantly uses silent stares, pairs of eyes and silly dream sequences with amazing effect. The male lead, an adolescent boy, is portrayed with great empathy by Giuseppe Sulfaro without schmaltz or sanitizing, so typical in American films about puberty. The title role, played well by a dazzling Monica Bellucci, could have been written for a young Sophia Loren. (My dream sequence, I guess) My favorite character was Renato's father, hilariously played by Luciano Federico. A must see.