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  • Having just returned at 2 am from a festival showing of the movie that started at 5:30, I still can think of nothing but looking for anything and everything about this exceptional film that I came across more or less by accident. I can only sum up two points: it is an excellent yet easy-going overview of recent Italian history, and a truly moving, in an unbanal and unstereotypical, unpopcorny way, movie about the value of friendship, closeness, family. This film makes you want to live, to cherish the people you love and to be aware of the consequences of your acts. City living makes sour cynics out of teenage optimists (I'd count myself in until now), and this one is a lesson of keeping the best of yourself throughout life. A true inspiration! Bravo.
  • Can art transform life? If so, I would elect "The Best of Youth" as a primary candidate for that possibility.

    Almost never in my over 60 years of film viewing have I been as deeply affected, haunted by characterizations, poetic dialog and brilliantly unexpected turns...and breadth of scope. The nuances of relationship between this case the Italian family Carati, their lovers, friends, wards...are so moving, so deeply portrayed and inhabited by the actors that I was not only moved to tears, but inspired. Here is a view of how human beings can live the humanity so desperately needed in this crazed and warring world...also presented as an integral part of plot and interaction...and this done without any sort of didactic or polemic foisting...All achieved through the intimate and profound struggles of the film's characters.

    Imagination and the incredible sensibility of director (Marco Tullio Giordana),writers (Petraglia and Rulli) and actors (most outstanding: Luigi LoCacio, Alessio Boni, Adriana Asti and Jasmine Trinca) combine to offer a film that carried this participant (for that's what I felt) into a realm only experienced by exceptional literature.

    As is obvious...I highly recommend seeing this movie.
  • Man, this 6 hour Italian drama gives soap opera a very good name. Saw the film at this year's Singapore International Film Festival, whose organisers were thankfully intuitive enough to endeavour such challenging programming.

    Best of youth's sprawling, epic scale depiction of love, familial ties and the strength which friendship binds, were assuredly interspersed into those 6 hours. The sweeping grandeur of its scope never overshadows the intimacy of its finely detailed characterisation. The subtle shifting of focus between characters (before unveiling the true lead character in the end) also proved to be intriguingly fruitful for the attentive audience.

    The screening time hence becomes a non-issue, for it genuinely felt like a sumptuous breeze. In fact, I'm pretty sure the captivated audience on that fateful night of screening could go on for another 3 hours. Such is the allure of good story telling.

    In summation, Best of youth boasts of good story, excellent performances, well placed "Godfather" references and beautiful people for the restless(if any) to ogle at. What more can a film geek (erm, me) ask for?

    Fantastic movie. Go hunt for it.
  • delphine09027 March 2005
    It's hard not to feel like an "easy" grader to give this film a 10, given that it is the very simple story of a family over 4 decades, no quirky writing or the eccentricities of "indie" films - just beautiful scenery, characters that move us and that we care about, and a sweet and believable story. The acting is excellent.

    To say this is a miniseries is misleading and adds the impression of a "cheese" factor that is not present. There is a reason that this film has been taken from the small screen and released in theaters - I didn't even know it had been a miniseries until I read some of the comments here.

    The story is simple but it is not trite; we may not have a huge number of surprises and no amazing plot twists and contortions but it is an emotional, moving, satisfying story.

    The most moving part of the story is the love and connectedness between the characters, and how this is expressed - here in the U.S. physical display of platonic affection is virtually non-existent, unless you count athletes hitting each other on the rear. You can tell these characters really care for each other.

    I sat for the second three hours today with people who sat through the first three hours with me yesterday. Some yesterday just got back in line for part 2. There was a line waiting to get in today - all people who had seen part 1 already.

    Saying this movie is like Zelig as someone here did is false and insulting. We couldn't tell a story about a U.S. family that spans the 60's to the present without mentioning Viet Nam or Watergate or 9/11, so this story of course mentions events internal to Italy during that time. The historical events are a backdrop to the story, not the story itself.

    The story is about this family, and we care about what happens to them. We become engaged, we sit and watch and laugh and cry with them. That's what movies are supposed to do.
  • "There is, nevertheless, a certain respect and a general duty of humanity that ties us, not only to beasts that have life and sense, but even to trees and plants." Montaigne

    Rarely does a new film find a place on a longstanding short list of best ever. The Italian import Best of Youth recently entered my all time best ten, a singular honor considering I had to sit still for six hours of viewing, and I rarely sit still anytime, even if my name is DeSando and it's a family saga.

    Director Francis Ford Coppola created a movie empire with his Godfather series and ended up with what some consider the best American movie ever made. It is unforgettable for its emphasis on family values mafia style and its stunning photography. The Best of Youth is decidedly not mafia related; rather it is a romantic and historical rendering of Italy from the 1960's as seen through the lives of the Carati family and their friends and lovers. The two brothers, Nicola and Matteo, represent the Janus-like conflict of liberal and conservative in the volatile last half-century of Italian social and cultural change.

    This is humanistic history at its best as director Marco Tullio Giordana takes us through the sexy seventies, a devastating Florence flood, the emergence of Red Brigades, assassinations and business downturns including the Fiat layoffs. Despite deaths, suicide, and disappointment, the last line of the film, spoken in the new century, repeats the sentiment of the youthful days in the last century that everything is truly beautiful. How can you miss that theme when the cinematography emphasizes the antique charm of Italy and the close up beauty of actors who look their parts, albeit rarely ugly? The film, often tightly framed, accentuates character over plot and a certain imprisonment in character and destiny. The choice of actors is nothing short of inspired.

    The genius of Best of Youth is that like Italy itself, this family is a stew of ideologies that offers up dignity of the individual as the highest value and respect (remember The Godfather) for humanity the only arbiter of peace. This film stands with Brokeback Mountain and The New World as a towering achievement and testimony to the transcending power of art to make us look at ourselves as vulnerable and beautiful.
  • "Best of Youth (La Meglio gioventù)" proves that Italians have learned the art of the long-form television mini-series that the British have long mastered.

    Covering a somewhat same period of the baby boom generation as "In A Land of Plenty," it has more of the generational feel of individuals caught up in history as we have usually seen in British mini-series about end-of-the-eras or World War I, such as "Brideshead Revisited" and "Jewel in the Crown." U.S. mini-series were more successful as sweeping historical epics, even when they were also family sagas like "Roots" and "Centennial;" when the networks tried to interpret more recent history, as in "The Sixties," the set characters sped through "Zelig" and "Forest Gump"-like in happening to be at the right place at the right time; perhaps the several seasons combined of the NBC series "American Dreams" could be considered comparable in showing how the times that are a-changing affect a family.

    "Best of Youth" is being released in the U.S. in movie theaters, though I'm not sure even shown in two parts of three hours each how edited it is from the original format, as other grand European mini-series like "Berlin Alexanderplatz," "Das Boot" and "Fanny and Alexander" were originally only shown in the U.S. in truncated theatrical versions as even PBS seems averse to television with subtitles so we rarely get to see the best of world television. Comparison to the Italian film "The Leopard" is unfair as that was not created in the same format and covers a shorter period of historical time.

    "Best of Youth" combines charismatic acting, leisurely directing amidst beautiful scenery in several parts of Italy with writing that takes the trajectories of complex yet consistent characters' lives believably and searingly affected by uniquely Italian experiences of the baby boomers' young adult years through middle age, without the American tendency to reject or regret youthful ambitions, through the lens of local natural disasters, violent political activities, judicial battles against the Cosa Nostra, European economic changes, with regional variations, that Americans rarely see in movies.

    The focus is primarily on two brothers from the 1960's almost to the present, played by two actors who must be the equivalent of George Clooney and Richard Chamberlain in Italian television. Alessio Boni in particular as Matteo captures the screen with such tortured macho dynamism that it's no wonder he's gone on to play Heathcliff and Dracula in other mini-series. His Paul Newman-like startling blue eyes become a talking point of the series and a continuing visual leitmotif. Similarly, the physical differences between the two actors help to point up the different paths the brothers take through life, even as the casting of other family members to look like them is eerily effective.

    The series is particularly good at capturing the camaraderie amongst old male friends over the years and the intimate interactions of members of a family, particularly with children, with a strong theme of the importance of both as an anchor.

    Unlike in American TV where women are adjuncts as the girlfriend/wife/mother, the key women here are crucial fulcrums in the brothers' lives and have separate intellectual, psychological and emotional demands.

    The emotions are important here -- grief is shown very movingly, with more pain and tears than American culture usually allows. In one extended scene, we see a grieving mother walk slowly up a long flight of stairs in numbed silence and gradually see her revive as she learns of surprise news about her son.

    There are of course some coincidences of family members' and friends' paths crossing at key junctures, but the story overall grips us.

    The pop music selections,American, European and Italian, are wonderfully evocative.
  • nturner8 November 2008
    No, the number of minutes is no typo. This film is over six and a half hours long. But as Roger Ebert says, "I dropped outside of time and was carried along by the narrative flow; when the film was over, I had no particular desire to leave the theater, and would happily have stayed another three hours." Of course, I was watching in the comfort of my home but I agree completely with Mr. Ebert.

    The narrative covers the years 1966 through 2003 and focuses primarily upon the older brother of a middle class Italian family. As it begins, the two brothers of the family are ready to pursue college education as an avenue to successful careers. The younger of them is volunteering at a local mental facility as a walker - a companion for patients who need to explore the world outside the institution. He finds that the girl he accompanies is being mistreated and more or less kidnaps her in an attempt to return her to her father's home. In this effort he seeks the help of his brother and the two embark upon an idealistic quest to return the girl to the love and safety of her home. The unhappy result of their venture changes the outlooks of both and sets them on paths which diverge from their original plans. Each chooses a new course which is in conflict with his basic personality. The older brother, who had been practical in all of his previous projects, finds himself diving into an alternative culture, whereas the younger, who had been more footloose, joins the military and eventually becomes a policeman. The encounters of both during the almost forty year span of the film gives us many insightful "what ifs" of two lives and reminds us of the enormous effect sheer chance has upon each of us.

    If you are familiar with the Italian political climate and events during the era of this film, your enjoyment will be heightened , but even someone as politically innocent as I had no trouble understanding the conflicts of the major characters that come from diverging ideologies. (I can probably be pretty much assured that if you are a HSC "regular" you are well versed in the politics of Italy in the latter part of the Twentieth Century.) This film has a great "feel" to it in that it doesn't fall into the trap of being overly melodramatic, which is often the bent of films that span long periods of time. I was left with a good feeling at the end but it arose from having viewed the triumphs and tragedies of a very believable family, a family whose members change and grow as a result of their experience of life just as happens in all families no matter their geographic location.

    As for geographic location, the viewer of this film is treated to many memorable scenes of Italy from the grit of the city to the blissful pleasures of the islands. The experience is one of a resident of the country rather than a tourist who only has privy to a gossamer view.

    If you enjoy excellent film-making and a good story, I have no doubt that you will also be "carried along by the narrative flow" just as Mr. Ebert and I can guarantee you that you will enjoy the ride.
  • I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago. Actually, you can't call it a movie because it's much more than that, it is a kind of mini-series. "La Meglio Gioventu" tells the story of two brothers: Matteo and Niccola. It starts when they are both about 18 years old; two young idealist who want to discover and change the world. What follows is partly Italian history, but mainly the personal history of the two brothers, growing up and finding their way through life.

    This is one of the most beautiful, touching and human stories of the latest years. I enjoyed seeing this very much. Six hours may seem a long time but it isn't to tell a story of 50 years. It is wonderful to see both brothers growing up and changing.

    The acting is excellent and the story is touching; the director has eye for detail and he manages the capture life in a very unique way. I can only advise everyone to see this. Outstanding! 9/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Not necessarily THE best cinematic experience I've ever had (which will always be reserved for LOTR), "Best of Youth" is unquestionably among the top few.

    Even before we register with any visual images, the unmistakable chords of House of the Rising Sun (Am, C, G7, F) take us right back to the late sixties when the first batch of post WW II baby boomers experienced the fears and aspirations of youth, facing a world that will soon be radically changed by the information technology revolution. We then follow the protagonists along an epic journey of nearly four decades, from youth to middle age, starting as total strangers and ending up at the end of the six hours feeling like we belong to the family. When the lights in the cinema finally came on I, for one, longed to remain there for another 3 hours to accompany these people into their old age, sharing more of their joy and sorrow.

    There is nothing new in "Best of youth". It's about things you and I experience throughout our lives – growing up, maturing, facing choices, falling in love, sharing in friendship, making mistakes, making amends, living and dying. What makes this movie soar above others is the care, time and honesty the moviemaker have devoted to making it. The 6-hour length helps (the fact that this was initially a mini-series is quite irrelevant as we watch it as a movie shown in the cinema anyway). Like good vintage wine, it takes time to age, and takes time to properly enjoy.

    It could not have been more wrong to assume that because of the length, the movie is slow in the sense of dragging. There are many mesmerizing stories to tell and they are told in such a perfect pace that there is not a single moment in which your interest might wander. The characters are all going through a continuous process of development. There are alternating scenes of happiness, poignancy, suspense, pensive stoicism and gripping tension. There are also sprinkles of delightful humor, as in the scene when one of the main characters, Nicola, visits his mother after a few years of absence. "Mother, you look like an old women", exclaims Nicola with a cheery wink in his eye. "I AM an old woman", snaps the mother in mocked indignation, with good-natured humor underneath.

    The very personal stories are told against the backdrop of Italy going through the transition in the second half of the last century – economic development, political unrest (the Red Brigade), social turmoil (class struggle). And yet, you don't really have to be Italian to appreciate how these macro changes are affecting the people in the stories because these changes are quite universal.

    There are a lot of characters, portrayed with realistic depth by a wonderful, wonderful cast too many to mention. Top of the list are obviously Luigi Lo Cascio and Alessio Boni who play the two brothers Nicola and Matteo respectively and Adriana Asti who plays the mother. And it's difficult not to fall in love a little with Maya Sansa who plays Mirella, with such sunshine in her smile. Truth is, however, that there are a dozen more characters who are all wonderful and deserve mentioning.

    "Best of youth" is among my best cinematic experiences (I have a hopeless weakness for LOTR). To you, it may simply be THE BEST.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I liked this so well that my first reaction after having watched it was to go back and watch it again. And that is what I did. As with most any good movie, a second viewing is more rewarding than the first, particularly if reading subtitles has been required.

    It has been a long time since the heydays of Fellini, Bertolucci, or Antonioni, so it's good to see a quality Italian film come out that has international appeal. The ambitious scope of this film, covering the lives of a family from 1966 to 2003, well justifies its six hour length. The story concentrates on two brothers, Nicola and Matteo, who take quite different paths, with Nicola becoming a psychiatrist and Matteo a cop. In addition to the brothers we get to know their parents, siblings (two female), lovers, friends, and children. The number of characters is balanced, not too many to be confusing but enough to make things interesting.

    Director Giordana definitely has the eye of an artist. The movie is masterfully filmed throughout, and some scenes are so beautifully shot that you can only respond with a sense of awe. Consider the scenes that have Nicola wandering through a natural history museum with his daughter. The editing is flawless and the tracking shot from a distance that interposes various animals as the two walk along is brilliant. Or take the scene where Nicola is at the photography exhibit with large photos mounted on stands throughout the hall. This is where having the luxury of a relaxed time constraint pays off. Nicola wanders among the photos for some time before finding the one he is looking for. The mood of that scene makes us as anxious to find the sought after photo as Nicola is.

    I thought all the actors were effective and was particularly impressed with Sonia Bergamasco who plays Nicola's significant other Giulia. Camilla Filippi, who plays Nicola's daughter Sara as an adult, is most appealing. And it doesn't hurt that all of the young actors are physically attractive.

    The story is told in a linear fashion and it moves along seamlessly, which is a testament to the editing. I am sure that inter-cutting the lives of the various characters while supplying a backdrop of historical events was not easy. I particularly appreciated this as a counterpoint to the disjointed time sequencing and jump cuts adopted by so many current movies.

    I learned a good deal of recent Italian history from this movie, but the emphasis was always on the characters. The point is well made as to how much our lives are shaped by the larger social events of the time. I never understood before how turbulent things were in Italy during the time frame of this movie.

    I liked how many of the characters remained enigmatic. What prompted Giulia to become a member of the revolutionary Red Brigades, at the sacrifice of her family? Matteo is so complex and conflicted that I never figured him out. He could be sensitive but also subject to fits of anger. The only consistency in Matteo was his love for his brother, even though they were sometimes at odds. Matteo was prone to self-inflicted wounds--on a visit to Rome he sees his parents as he drives by them, but he does not stop; he makes a date with a girl but shows up only to follow her secretly in his car as she finally walks away. For all of Nicola's skills as a psychiatrist, in the end it is seen that he did not quite understand his brother either.

    This movie does not dazzle you with technique but rather seduces you into becoming involved with its story and its characters. Who can argue with a technique that accomplishes that?
  • By far, the best movie I have seen ever! Epic, original, spell-binding, deep, emotionally-nuanced, artsy, and simply human. The main characters evoke empathy from the very start. I guarantee there will be at least a single character you will be able to deeply relate to. If you are wondering whether to see this movie, don't! Go and see it now, you won't regret it. It is well worth the 6 hours you will spend watching!!!

    Beautiful footage shot in different parts of Europe superbly compements the time period over which the story takes place (40 years). It's great to see Italian movies finally make a come back in this big way.
  • The Best of Youth is a wonderfully scripted, acted, and visually stunning film that will sweep you off your feet and into the lives of an Italian family as they go through the trials and tribulations of life. The film's main focus is on two brothers, Nicola and Matteo Catiti whose personalities are as different as night and day yet is also immediately apparent that these two love each other very much. Nicola is the younger, free spirited and philosophical brother while Matteo is more outspoken, with a hot temper and closed personality.

    What I admired most throughout this film was the use and passage of time. Events in Italian history are not crammed into 120 minutes but is instead elongated, as Matteo and Nicola react in their own ways to the events that occur in their country. Time is such an important factor in this film, evidents not only by the six hour running time, but how those six hours are treated. Special occasions occur, yet none are given any special attention. The events that occur are important for that moment in time, yet one pass become mere memories such is the case of life.

    With the passage of time, The Best Of Youth became such a moving experience for me. I felt as if I were a part of their family. I could not touch them, or talk to them, yet they seemed to welcome me with open arms as I silently watched their lives unfold before me. I could feel the love this family had for each other as I laughed and cried right beside them. Words just do not seem to be enough to describe the brilliance of this film. It is literally life transferred on screen.

    The Best of Youth is remarkably acted and directed. At no time during this film was I bored, because such attention is made to character development, script, and cinematography. In the first part of the film, Nicola is exploring Norway, and sends a postcard to his brother back home telling him of his travels and experiences, and in three words, seems to sum up the film perfectly: "Life is beautiful." After viewing this film, you will share the same perspective.

    HIGHLY Recommended
  • Patrik E31 December 2004
    I've just finished watching this gripping film. I was on the Gothenbeug Film festival, but I did not see it. The 6,5 hours were a daunting prospect. On Swedish telly the divided in into 4 parts which were shown 4 days in a row. It is one of those series where one is longing for the next episode, I found myself pondering about the film, the characters all day. So many things has been said already in other reviews which I don't have to repeat I just say watch this lowly very slowly unfolding slice of life and Italian history. If it doesn't move you you will have to have a heart of stone. Excellent acting, wonderful photos, lots of atmosphere.....
  • This is not only a story, this is a practically perfect mix of history and story, of private and public, of feelings,love,life. I believe in everybody who loves CINEMA there is a dream, to make a movie in which the story run like the life, in which we could feel like when, children in our bed, waiting to be catch by the sleep, we listen the tales from our parents and everything seems more real than reality. This movie is the evidence that sometimes the life could be translate in an universal language, where everybody could feel a part of himself on the screen. LA MEGLIO GIOVENTU' is the story of a family, four young brothers, along the last forty years in Italy (but it could be everywhere). There are a psychiatrist, a policeman, a lawyer and an housewife, but there are also their relatives, friends, in poor words there is the LIFE. I would suggest to see this long tale, you will feel better.
  • Ichuta1 August 2006
    It's 1AM on a weekday, and more than a year after watching this movie for the third time, I'm still haunted by it, like an overwhelming memory that won't fade. I think I know what it is: it is all the profound humanity that this film projects, in its pure, real, obtainable form, through its different stories, its passions, its formidable characters - especially the one of Nicola, whom it is so easy to love and identify with.

    Such a film is a bowl of fresh air, especially for all of us idealists who start to believe the world has turned into a giant cynical machine. The success of this movie is a proof that we haven't forgotten our emotions yet.

    Out of all the films that I've watched (and I'm a big cinephile), this one stands out as the one that affected me the most, in terms of emotional value. Out of nowhere I'll just start thinking about it and start crying and laughing and celebrating human life. Sounds corny, I know... I'll probably never get over it, just as I'll never get over the Rach 3 or Neruda's poetry or a Patagonian morning.

    It's 1.10AM on a weekday, I can't resist a 4th screening...
  • I waste a lot of time reviewing cute but rubbishy science fiction and horror films on this site. I'm a bit out of practice with watching, and critiquing, actual drama! But of course, I still realize that the key to great drama is the characters - and they make this epic Italian miniseries-turned-movie work, and work beautifully at that.

    "The Best of Youth" focuses on various members of the Carati family and their friends, advancing from the 1960s to the near-present as it chronicles their lives in the context of social turmoil in Italy as a whole. For the most part, the story never drags, and every single character is compelling and sympathetic.

    Many of the character have flaws, but they're not bad people - just complex. Many tragic things happen, but the film never wallows in misery, except on one wholly justified occasion. Moral conflicts are explored not in black-and-white, but in shades of grey. In other words, "The Best of Youth" is rich with the kind of warmth, complexity and subtle nuances that you tend to miss in most American dramas - even the ones that win Oscars.

    I won't spoil the plot, really - I'll just say that both of the main characters, brothers Matteo and Nicola Carati, are charismatic and cool and well worth six hours of screen time. They're also very different, which keeps things interesting.

    Are there any significant flaws here? Nah, not really. My interest waned a bit during some segments, particularly the historical ones that aren't explained that well. There's also a bit of cheesy makeup and blue screen, but that can be excused because this is really a TV production, as I understand it, not a big movie. Besides, I sort of love production flaws. They're fun, aren't they?

    On a totally pointless note, I'd like to mention a strange plus of "The Best of Youth" - much of the cast is totally gorgeous. Guys and gals alike have reason to rejoice here...

    One final random thought. While I'm glad that "The Best of Youth" was distributed and well-received in the U.S., I'm annoyed that it was publicized as being "like the Godfather" or "like the works of Scorcese." It's nothing like the Godfather, it's nothing like Scorcese. The marketers seemed to have believed, unfortunately, that U.S. audiences are only interested in Italian criminals, not normal Italian people. This sort of irritates me. (Note my surname and you'll figure out why!) But such concerns have nothing to do with the actual movie, which is pretty much flawless.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I am not of Italian descent however, I have lived and loved and experienced Italy with an Italian heart and soul. I besides having studies film, worked in film production for many years and have a masters in psychotherapy (MSW), I would say this film was brilliant. Sure, it has it's holes. However, Italy has not produced a better piece of film work since....the 1980's. it is very difficult to create a mini series which engages and tells the nuance of the big picture in such a poetic way. Yes, the family seemed to have been hit hard with all the drama of the times, but, there were things this family did NOT experience where others did and that was good. it showed the integrity of the filmmakers to maintain true character continuity and development was consistent.

    The sequences of events made lots of sense and the Giorgia Character was perfect!! She was even some sort of catalyst for the brothers.

    I think all the characters were important components in telling this very rich story.

    I also appreciated how subtle things were told. with passion but not melodramatic. Important issues were brought up, but like life, not always spelled out so clearly. A lot is left to figure out..especially whether Matteo is a latent homosexual or simply repressed emotionally causing sexuality confusion. he could only express anger and this was the sign few could see could lead to his demise.

    it was a great film.

    Capo lavoro amici! grazie per sei ore bellissimi!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was reluctant to go to see this film, because of its length -6 hours! "Do I have to sacrifice a whole my day off for one film??" But I went anyway as I was so curious about the hypes from reviews around this unusual film.

    And result is, there is nothing "Hype" about this, it live with its hype and more that the that. This film turned out to be a masterpiece, to be remembered forever in movie history and be ranked with films like "Godfather", "Seven Samurai" "What a wonderful life" Shawshank Redemption" etc.

    What a magnificent film... where can I begin? The story? The story draw both destiny of troubled Italy and ordinary middle class Italian family, both Macro and micro story is combined seamless, you will experience and get thorough the turbulence time of Italy and the family from 1960s-2003.

    All main actors are top class, acting so naturally from their early unresponsively 20s student times to bitter/sweet grey hair late mid age times without false note. Particualry Maya Sansa, I think the Star was born here (her another recent film, "Good morning, night" is another evidence). I haven't seen an actress with such a presence and ability in last few years. Needless to say about the lead roles, Luigi Lo Cascio and Alessio Boni, both shows such a true resonance of all the emotions. Also, its nice to know 70's Italian movie icon, Adriana Asti still keep that elegance.

    The greatest thing is the directors sympathetic eye to all the characters. Most of characters are given real three dimension character in the course of 40 years time in this film, all of them have their own life and problems. each character come with such a detail & depth, you will feel like they are your real family at the end of the film.

    The length of this films seems weakness of it, but actually strongest point lay in there. Because of the length, you are able to feel the passage of 30 years of time in the film, and you can feel characters so close, it grows in you during the film. Towards the end of the film, you may do not want to say good bye to them, don't want film to finish!

    Like all the masterpiece I mentioned above, this film come with some memorable scene

    (Warning - Spoiler)

    Matteo jumps from window - its so abrupt but still make sense, its so realistic -his face are painful before and such a quiet pain he shows that night without any big speech. Nicola and Mirella walking in the forest and Matteo appears and touched them... I never cried that much in the cinema. Not like Hollywood film, this scene doesn't come with any sentimental big music or emotional speech (actually its speechless), its very subtle, still so strongly moving... Giulia met Sarah at church after she released, and Sarah asked Giulia to play church's organ...

    (Spoiler end)

    Actually, if you don't want show your friends/family your crying/sobbing face, you should avoid this film all the cost, its that moving, so powerful.

    Conclusion - true gem, masterpiece. Best film I've even seen last 5 years. If you love movie, you can't miss this film. Your 6 hours will be more that rewarded. 12 out of 10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The gist of my too-long ramble below is there probably is, at least definitively within the film, no answer to the "Why?" of Matteo, and that Nicola as he ages increasingly embraces the status quo. Blame inevitable age, if you like, but it doesn't happen to their mother.

    Way back, among some finished and unfinished novels that migrate to each computer I buy but that otherwise I no longer bring myself to look at, is one in which my Myshkin-like protagonist lies up a minor tragedy to cause his various acquaintances who have nothing to do with one another to show up at one place at the same time. The Russian Myshkin couldn't lie, of course, but mine did. Just to see, I guess: a sort of wish-fulfillment, curiosity that killed the cat or made the student's mind viable or kept the oldster's young and nimble. Lying is storytelling is lying. The act of writing allows, or allowed, me, playing god just like that character of mine, to introduce to one another versions of people I known but whose paths never crossed otherwise. A tragic, now late, slow guy from work somehow occupies my vacation-vacant condo and hits it off with my garrulous but uneducated father. That kind of thing. Or, as Myshkin, I grab one or another misplaced acquaintance, long gone well before my mountaineering days, and march her way above the timberline to some icy col only to play at not knowing the way back down while sweet panic and thunderheads well.

    I don't want to get into most La Meglio gioventù's maybe merits, the pacing and rhythms gained by extraordinary length, the credible aging and acquisition of Time's wisdom, whether for growth or stagnation, in most the characters, the relatively quiet interpolation of passing history. But the sadly heavy-handed, grossly unnecessary insertion of Matteo's "ghost" into the closing scene between Nicola and Mirella made me realize what an orgy of wish-fulfillment the second half is. Suddenly, seemingly because Life or Time heals but maybe just so the filmmaker could resolve things for us, nearly everyone meets everyone. Even at six hours, a story's tick needs its tock. Whether or not director Giordana and his writers intended the nearly dead center division, Part One ticks, and then Part Two tocks.

    If this is more than just a really, really good soap opera, then there have to be ambiguity, loose ends, disappointments that come more from life's constraints than from audiences' need for reassurance and resolution. Why, other than to create suspense, does Nicola deny Giorgia's need be involved in finding Mirella? He's suddenly so uncharacteristically lacking in empathy. If he's hurting over Matteo, then he's selfish. If he's just being professional, then we're denied his rationale. I can easily dream up justifications within Nicola's character, but, watching, I sensed a filmmaker struggling to twist an ending out of events that in reality must fractal along indefinitely. With possible exceptions of Nicola's mother and perhaps his too-young-yet, barely formed though marriageable, daughter, Mirella seems the sanest creature in the film, Fate's gift to this at least slightly askew family. Has Nicola even told her about Giorgia, and in what terms? Inevitably she will meet Giorgia (Tiny piece of a six-hour sequel?!), but the film denies us the experience.

    Matteo's so ever-present, and all the more so as the film progresses, in no small part because of Giorgia's obsession, that that bit of magic realism offended me as a viewer. Don't plaster on the screen what's already there: don't double images. Besides, I'm not at all certain the living Matteo would have been so generous. The sequence suggests suicide's a path to peace of mind, a return to balance or to freedom from self (What?! Does Matteo reach Enlightenment? Aurrgh!), but no one can know this. Are the filmmakers saying that Matteo by self-abnegation, self-destruction, restored balance to his family? Probably not, but how cruel the suggestion! Even so Matteo's the glue here, the MacGuffin, a key of some sort. I've sat through enough director Q & As to suspect there may be no explanation. Ambiguity's a storyteller's tool. Ambiguity, red herrings, in stories not by genre mysteries cue ineptness from hacks, but deliberation from pros. Matteo's case abounds in red herrings. Despite the transvestite, I don't think he's gay (all I saw in the episode was self-loathing, and nowadays they would have simply told us so; the day he first flirts with Mirella, despite his holding back, he seems no less enthralled than Nicola will be later). Despite the cop stuff, the look, the gun, I don't think he's political (they could have involved him against Nicola's terrorist love but don't; Nicola though, by surviving so wholeheartedly within the status quo does come off political). Surely each of us, as I think the filmmakers intend, will find a different key to Matteo. Empson, writing about ambiguity, usually says not that one or another reading is "it," but that all are present and in play. Matteo's mystery allows the filmmakers' artifice to breathe. If I see any clue, it lies way back, the day or two with Giorgia, when she, if not he, knew him already a soul broken in some way that her experience had taught her to understand. Whatever was wrong with him likely was already wrong then. I don't know what it was, but banishing from the film's close the first and only character who "got it" seems to doom the whole family, if only in the sense of their not "getting it" about Matteo and Giorgia. It seriously undercuts that silly ghost-Matteo scene.

    I know too little to speak but recall vaguely that there may be a genetic tendency to suicide: sort of a no-fault clause.

    Luigi Lo Cascio as Nicola, incidentally, looks like both Jean-Pierre Léaud and Dustin Hoffman, but, even saying that, I can't see that those two ever behave quite alike.
  • As I was about to write my review, I was very positively surprised at seeing the wide, and I would say worldwide success of this awesome Italian "movie": reviewers from all over Europe and across the ocean prove that when a product is intelligently-crafted it is able to cross borders, even though it's deeply rooted in Italian history and could sound a little unfamiliar to a foreign audience. Most comments consist, indeed, of positive words of praise in favour of this movie: emotionally engaging, never boring, despite the long time-run, authentic, genuine, poetic, finely characterised, wonderfully acted, sober, delicate, sensitive, intelligent, never banal, captivating, enjoyable at every age: simply great.

    I agree with all the qualities outlined by the users' reviews, and just add a great merit: the total lack of any political line-up, in a movie where great political events and dramas of Italian history are displayed. Faults and merits are just to be seen, everyone may form his/her opinion, but Giordana never falls into the temptation to make any propaganda or engage any political controversy. As an Italian, and living in a country where nowadays every aspect of one's life is object of political assessment, as if politics were the only criterion of one's behaviour, I appreciate this political non-commitment (not in the sense of indifference, of course, but of sterile factiousness) as a comforting and rare quality. Everything, even tragic events with deep social wounds, is displayed with such delicacy, everything gets such an intimate and human dimension, that the movie can really reach a universal impact.

    For me, The Best of Youth is one of those movies you can never leave, I bought the DVD, which I keep jealously and lend only to deserving true friends. It's a sort of sweet companion, which never disappoints, it's so loaded with sound feelings and humanity that it is a sort of drug I take when I feel down, and recovering is granted!
  • This movie really touched me. I can even say that it is the best movie I have ever seen. On the beginning you have a man with great enthusiasm, then he gets more serious because of his job and his middle ages, an then later... There are many unforgettable scenes. There is history, love, romance, adventure, psychology, drama, fun and everything. The scenario and the acting is perfect, especially Giulia (Sonia Bergamasco) and Nicola (Luigi Lo Cascio). I was sad when the movie ended, I could watch 6 more hours. Maybe this is a personal effect because of the wonderful scenario. Anyway you can witness a complete life story from the beginning till the end. The director was very careful and attentive, I haven't seen anything wrong. Thanks to everybody worked on that movie.
  • "La Meglio Gioventù" is an hymn to Italy and the Italian people! It is our history and belongs to our culture. The story takes place on a period of 37 years, from 1966 to 2003, highlighting some momentous events of our country, which moulded in a way our spirit: the flooding in Florence in 1966, the terrorist fight in the '70s, the World Championship of 1982 (which led to the victory of the Italian team), the killing of Judge Falcone in 1992, and so on.

    The mixture of intelligent screenplay, wise direction and supreme performance of the whole cast of actors makes this work an authentic miracle of our cinema. Thanks to this masterpiece, Marco Tullio Giordana enters the Gotha of Masters of the "Made in Italy" production.

    I greatly enjoyed each moment of the film, from the very beginning. It is such a pleasure to our spirit and heart: I am pleased to compare it to a chalice of ambrosia offered to the lips of gods! I think this metaphor can easily convey the effect the vision of the motion picture produced to me. But I do not want to mislead the other readers by giving the idea it is a comedy: the film is quite dramatic and sometimes you can perceive it as a documentary.

    The combined effect of intelligence and sensitiveness to the story makes you feel good and proud to belong to the country able to offer such a pearl!
  • Without a doubt the best movie I've ever seen. The six hours of film (plus the emotional catharsis after) were well worth it. The film slowly but surely sucks you into the story of the two brothers, Nicola and Matteo, and the sometimes shocking and unexpected events taking place in their lives, against the background of Italy's lively past.

    Amazing acting. Characters to never forget. A kaleidoscope of life, that encompasses all elements of human life, from love and family to death and political or ideological rivalry. A truly moving picture.

    Probably the only movie about which I can say that I do not have the courage the watch it again out of fear for the emotions that it might awaken in me.
  • You need to exhaust a dictionary of adjectives to do justice to the delicacy, the nuanced quality, of this film. It has a breathless way of dealing with the most essential human emotions. Nothing is vulgar or tawdry. There is a sublime sense of place (which could only be Italy -- but not only in this time period). This is a must see film because it sees into the viewer. It exposes and bears witness to our common human experience -- with perfectly light and deep paintbrush strokes that move gracefully unrushed. It is, by far, one of the most generous films I have ever seen because it bares the soul of emotions and thoughts without casting judgement on them. For lack of a better phrase, it is overflowing with love. But not cloying or sticky or possessive "love". Because "Best of Youth" teaches that life lived at its best is not this way. Life is the vitality of love one knows in youth and should keep forever. See it. Thank you.
  • caofeio19 December 2006
    This movie is splendid. It tells the story of lives, basically. The ups and down of a family. It could be the story of my life, or it could be of yours.

    The action takes place in Italy, and the movie goes side by side with its protagonists. In six hours, it tells the story of their lives. An involving, mesmerizing and "real" story. Not softened, it actually looks real.

    The action is very well fitted into some of Italy most important events, and the characters have connection with it all, somehow. I admire the script, the labyrinthic action, which is not confusing at all, but is perfectly mixed together. The puzzle, once completed, is beautiful. Like someone said in the movie: "Everything is beautiful".

    It has a great cinematography, but pretty discrete. Our eyes and attention are focused on the plot, and not on fantastic camera movements, or a "music video" type editing.

    It's a sober, and excellent movie. One that sticked to my head, like no one did a "long" time ago.

    And don't get fooled by it's length. You'll dive into the screen, and time just seems to fly. Really.

    Don't miss it.
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