5 June 2009 | DICK STEEL
A Nutshell Review: Good Morning Heartache
Some would tell you that documentary film-making takes place in the editing room, where the director will craft a certain angle from the hours of footage shot, and come up with something meaningful for the audience. For filmmakers Eros (Alessandro Averone) and Giorgio (Stefano Fresi) who have broken their banks in order to make something about the struggles of temporary art practitioners, little would they know that their friends' bust up would be that proverbial spanner in the works, slowly turning their project into a nightmare.
Armed with their trusty cameras, their initial aim is to capture every single moment between an aspiring playwright-actor Giovanni (Marco Foschi) and his wife Lucia (Alba Rohrwacher), who's a temp video editor, but early on in their project they witness, through their lens, the abrupt breakup between the two, with Giovanni walking out on his wife and child. Naturally the filmmakers get stumped by the sudden development, but decide to persevere and see what their recorded observations could come up with.
Marco Foschi plays the perfect cad as the irresponsible chap who decides to sever ties without explanation. And to ensure that you cast plenty of doubts on his character, he immediately picks up and hooks up with a good looking doctor Michela (Valentina Lodovini) whom he embarks on another physical relationship with. Alba Rohrwacher on the other hand is physically as frail as she is emotionally fragile, devastated by the inexplicable turn of events, and for the most parts of the film, wanders about in a confused state seeking solace from all the wrong places. The story by Anna Negri and Giovanna Mori seem to be more sympathetic toward the female character of Lucia, while crafting some really wonderful girl- power moments for her to bask under, and nasty ones for Giovanni to dwell in.
Production-wise, this is quite experimental, with camera angles and techniques shifted around to mirror guerrilla film-making, and for all its voyeuristic moments following their mark from the restrooms to the bedrooms, the fourth wall gets broken countless of times either in reel or real terms, since it's a film within a film. It does require some getting used to as the narrative could shift from a narrative one to a documentary talking-heads interview as conducted by Eros and Giorgio. There's some comedy to break up the monotony and depressing state of affairs, but nothing slapstick to jar the flow of the story.
Too much gets jammed into the tale though in the last third of the film, with character motivations revealed and the realization some go through, not to mention an end which confirms what's been niggling about a particular person's rather emotionally careless behaviour. An interesting presentation of a tale dealing with the vagaries of the heart.