The Last Paradiso review – a serious drama that underplays itself

February 5, 2021
Daniel Hart 3
Film Reviews, Netflix
2.5

Summary

There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of love that went into this film, but with uninspiring characters, and zero injection of genuine drama, it falls on its own style. The Last Paradiso tragically underplays itself.

2.5

Summary

There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of love that went into this film, but with uninspiring characters, and zero injection of genuine drama, it falls on its own style. The Last Paradiso tragically underplays itself.

This review of Italian Netflix film The Last Paradiso contains no spoilers. The drama was released on the streaming service on Feb 5, 2021.

In 1950s Italy, The Last Paradiso sets the scene; a wonderful vineyard looking area, clasped in the middle of the countryside, where villagers are part of the environment rather than toiling over it. There’s a farmer feeling, with the poor versus rich poignantly charged, presented by the greedy and the desperate. The Netflix film re-imagines what a rural place in Italy would be like in the 50s; it’s a tick on the list from that perspective. Of course, I have no idea what Italy looked like in the 50s, but it looks beautiful in this film.

Following Ciccio, Italian film The Last Paradiso tells the tale of a promiscuous man with ideals; he stands up for the poor and demands a village of justice, rather than the family at the top reaping a large share while others fight for scraps. There’s plenty of historical perceptions based on farmer economy in this Italian film, coating the story with a dream for a better life.

But it’s worth noting that Ciccio is not a perfect character, far from it. He neglects his wife and finds himself head over heels with the opposing family daughter Bianca, a free spirit that thirsts to be unshackled from the wrath of her father. They shadow themselves to enjoy an affair while dreaming of moving away from the town. The film is set; it feels like an unforgivable romance.

And that’s what The Last Paradiso essentially is; it narrows the dreamer storyline into a story of the forbidden fruit, and the consequences of biting into it. It meanders to the middle of the film, where life changes drastically for the town. It’s merely a tragic undertaking of fantasy, with two whirlwind characters living opposing daily lives finding themselves in a silent storm.

But like many films released on Netflix this week, it labors and lulls between act three and four. Relying on its artsy underlay, Netflix’s The Last Paradiso chooses style over substance, catching the audience by surprise with the odd emotional moment. It imagines how depressing life may have been in this town, and with the movie labeled as “based on a true story”, maybe Rocco Ricciardulli was trying to achieve too much realism, which betrays the audience.

There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of love that went into this film, but with uninspiring characters, and zero injection of genuine drama, it falls on its own style. The Last Paradiso tragically underplays itself.

3 thoughts on “The Last Paradiso review – a serious drama that underplays itself

  • February 9, 2021 at 6:43 am
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    I totally disagree with this review- Rocco did a great refreshing job as director – this film is great !!!!

  • February 9, 2021 at 11:53 pm
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    I completely concur with Nola above the reviewer missed the mark on this gem. I was immediately drawn in emotionally like a “page turner” of a great novel and captivated by director Ricciardulli’s painting of post war rural Italy. Unlike most of the propagandist swill on Netflix this film really moves the mind, spirit and heart.

  • February 10, 2021 at 2:28 am
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    I didn’t understand the end. How did Antonio know his brother was going to buy Bianca a long dress? And how can that type of ending be based on a true story?

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