The Hand of God review – the story of growing up

December 16, 2021
Abirbhab Maitra 0
Film Reviews, Netflix, Streaming Service


The story of coming-of-age struggles blending reality and fiction.

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The story of coming-of-age struggles blending reality and fiction.

This review of the Netflix film The Hand of God does not contain spoilers.

One of the characters of the movie The Hand of God asks the protagonist, “Do you know how many stories there are in this city? Do you have a story to tell?” Internationally acclaimed director Paolo Sorrentino’s The Hand of God is that story he wants to tell. The very personal story of growing up, which resonates with all the coming of age adults throughout the world.

The story of Fabietto, based on the real life of Sorrentino himself, becomes the representation of the people, who are struggling to understand the world, its cruelty, and its beauty. In a scene, it is stated, “Reality is lousy”. Perhaps that’s why it hurts us so much, makes us try to break free from the reality to live some fantasy. For Fabietto, this is his constant urge. After he faces the cruelty of real life, he doesn’t want to live in the reality. He tries to live in the fictional world and eventually he finds solace in cinema.

Sorrentino uses many magic realism motifs to depict this conflict of reality and fiction. And with those elements, the film beautifully portrays the growing up in life. From the beginning to the end, it is an epic study of the transition from a teenager to an adult. This transition of Fabietto of his sexual, emotional maturity is the visceral thing about the struggle to cope up out of your own.

Filippo Scotti is brilliant in the role of Fabietto. He not only acts the role but also lives through it. He pulls all the strings of emotions in one pull, which hits hard. Awarded the Marcello Mastroianni Award in the Venice Film Festival, he is the brightest kid, who has a bright future ahead in my opinion.

Other actors such as Toni Servillo and Teresa Saponangelo complements Scotti’s performance to flesh out, playing the roles of his father and mother respectively. Especially, the performance of Luisa Ranieri has to be noted. Her psycho-sexual depiction as Aunt Patrizia in the movie works as a catalyst in the process of Fabietto’s sexual maturity. An empathetic character often misunderstood by others is likely a metaphor for the people, who struggle to cope up in the mysterious world. The relationship of Fabietto and Patrizia is like they are both two sides of a single coin. Where Fabietto is wary about facing the reality and tries to run away from it, Patrizia is bold, who doesn’t give a damn.

We all know about the famous ‘Hand of God’ by the great Diego Maradona. The movie starts with a quote from the famous footballer, “I did what I could. I don’t think I did so badly.” This introspection is the key in Sorrentino’s film as after so many years he revisited his past and sees whether it is worth living in the beautiful fiction (in cinema) or in the cruel reality. And, that’s why I am grateful to him.

What did you think of the Netflix film The Hand of God? Comment below. 

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