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  • Writer's pictureGareth Bradwick

The Hand of God ★★★★

Paolo Sorrentino

Starring Filippo Scotti, Tony Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo, Luisa Ranieri, Marlon Joubert

Based partly on the life of its director, The Hand of God centres around a young Fabietto (Filippo Scotti) as he persues his love of football (and Maradona) in 1980s Naples. When a family tragedy strikes, he is left reeling and finds his way gradually in to in an uncertain but promising future as a filmmaker.

This film is first and foremost a film about growing up in Naples. Every shot, from the first to the last, is absolutely stunning. The summer warmth radiates from the screen as we, the viewer, yearn to take a dip in the sea as often as these characters seem to. It’s a delight to spend the first hour with Fabietto’s family and friends. There are layers and textures of a past only a director who has lived this story could portray. From a cinematography and general movie making standpoint this is a smorgasbord for the eyes and a real triumph.

During the second hour, things do become darker as Fabio has to find a way to deal with his family tragedy. Some of the emotional draws don’t fully land even if they are tackled well. It also becomes quite surreal at times, with a “what the hell am I watching” moment concerning a comb and a neighbourly helping hand.

As we explore Naples, more characters come out of the woodwork to offer advice and guidance to the young Fabietto and by the end you feel like you know Naples and what it’s about a lot more than you did at the beginning.

All in all this is a fantastic film tackling adolescence, loss and love. It’s easy to get lost in the summer heat on screen, but perhaps not one to watch with the parents.

The Hand of God available now on Netflix

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