4 July 2017 | gradyharp
An Idyll - a short period in which everything is wonderful.
Writer/Director Giuseppe Tornatore ('Cinema Paradiso', 'The Legend of 1900', 'The Best Offer', 'Everybody's Fine') has created a love song to Italy, science, astronomy, writing as an art form, communication and that fragile love between an older professor and a student. In other's hands this combination may come saccharine and a silly treatise on life and whether we die or become part of the universe spirit. Tornatore makes it a sensitive and delicate poem of a film.
Amy Ryan (Olga Kurylenko), a young student and stunt woman for films and Ed Phoerum (Jeremy Irons), a highly respected astrophysicist have an affair for 6 years, primarily an affair over distance. When Ed goes out of town, both of them keep in touch by text and video chats. All seems well and carries a light touch of humor as well as longing until Amy discovers Ed died 2 days back due to cancer. But still she receives messages and gifts under the name of Ed. Amy meets Ed's family (Shauna Macdonald, Oscar Sanders) and gradually assimilates with them. She ceases to feel lonely with the frequent input of videos she receives at strange intervals but remains surprised about the mysterious messages and gifts. How Amy copes with her life and how is Ed texting and sending gifts even after his death forms is brought to a satisfying if over long conclusion to the film. Ed suggests that she will find another man and very briefly in the end Amy encounters an old acquaintance Jason (Simon Anthon Johns), suggesting that Ed's last prediction will be fulfilled.
Tornatore's writing includes some wonderful information about the stars and the theories of their life span as well as other Astronomical insights and mixes these with love poems that are radiant as delivered by both Irons and Kurylenko. Though the film opens with a passionate love scene we both hear in darkness and eventually see as the film progresses, the remainder of the film is a conversation via cell phone and video and for those of us who have problems with the obsession with those forms of interaction in today's society, Tornatore manages to soften the mechanical emptiness of their use.
Ennio Morricone provides the musical score and Fabio Zamarion the exquisite photography of Italy, Scotland, and the UK. The film is in need of some editing but the spirit is there and Tornatore's little gem restores our faith that fine films are still being made.