11 June 2010 | Karl Self
Not bad, just unimpressive
Turko-German directing star "Fatih Akin" proffers the tale of a family of Italian immigrants in Germany. "Solino" is the movie that immediately preceded his breakthrough "Gegen die Wand".
A young couple and their two sons move from the Italian village of Solino to Germany, where they are, overall, pretty successful as restauranteurs. But in time divisions become apparent: the father can't handle his success and exploits his wife and sons. The brothers fight over women; when one of them becomes successful as a movie director, the other brother can't handle his own jealousy. When the mother falls deadly ill, the filmmaker gives up his career and moves back with her to Italy, where he finds true love.
The movie is watchable, but overall I couldn't warm to it. The plot is often meandering and full of clichés. I didn't like seeing German actors portraying Italians who speak German throughout -- that simply couldn't fly. I didn't buy the bit about the one brother being a film-making boy wonder -- the movies we get to see by him are bo-ring. I didn't buy the Jules-et-Jim-like love affair between Gigi, Giancarlo and Jo -- she comes across as little more than a blonde slag. I really hated the stereotype about the simple country girl waiting for her childhood love to come back from Germany "to bring her snow". I thought the story about the kindly photo shop owner was naff.
That's not enough for me to either hate or love this movie. The only thing that stands out to me is the impressive performance of the actress portraying the mother, Antonella Attili.
NB: I have to write the director's name in parentheses, otherwise IMDb will bowdlerise his first name to "faith".