Marilyn’s Eyes review – a film with as few redeeming features as its protagonists

March 19, 2022
Kira Comerford 0
Film, Film Reviews, Netflix, Streaming Service
2

Summary

Despite all its color and largely upbeat sentiment, Marilyn’s Eyes somehow manages to be a dull affair.

2

Summary

Despite all its color and largely upbeat sentiment, Marilyn’s Eyes somehow manages to be a dull affair.

This review of Marilyn’s Eyes is spoiler-free.

The film begins with Diego (Stefano Accorsi), as he embarks on a breakdown that lands him in a psychiatric daycare facility. Once there, he meets Clara (Miriam Leone), a fellow patient, and the two form a bond as they transform the treatment center into a restaurant with the other patients attending alongside them.

Yet another film I’ve had the privilege of diving into without a notion of what’s to come, Marilyn’s Eyes opens with a slow-motion montage of chef Diego smashing up a breakfast buffet, and I have to say it was a phenomenal way to start. It’s just a shame the film didn’t start as it meant to go on. Yes, the vibrant colors remained, and there was always a whiff of poetry either in the dialogue or visuals, but no development occurred to build on them. 

As well as burning itself out and turning dull early on, Marilyn’s Eyes struggles were not helped by its two very unlikable main characters. On the one hand, there was Diego — an unfortunate soul who the world happened to, but seemingly had absolutely no control of anything himself, and on the other was Clara, a compulsive liar who managed to destroy everything she touched. The worst part of it all was the fact that neither of the two seemed capable of taking even a hint of responsibility for their actions. I don’t know how I’m supposed to sympathize with that. Bad things happen; they are a certainty in life, but they’re not an excuse just carry on however you like and not expect to suffer consequences. 

For all their awfulness, Diego and Clara were definitely a perfect match for each other, and what I will say is that Marilyn’s Eyes did manage to make it look like a viable relationship. I want to say it was shot in a way that almost made it look more like a documentary than anything else. There was a real sense of being a fly-on-the-wall in these people’s lives, and this led to what was depicted on screen feeling more intimate, and as if there was more hope for the couple than you would believe there to be on paper.

However, the film tried too hard to achieve a fairytale end result and as odd as it is to say when you consider all of the other films that exist, and the levels of realism they strive for, Marylin’s Eyes felt a bit far-fetched. The idea of a fake marketing campaign leading to this treatment center becoming one of the most sought-after haunts in Italy, hosted by a handful of out-patients just wasn’t something I could bring myself to believe in. Everything always seemed a little too good to be true, and ultimately left me wagging my finger and saying, ‘I told you so’, whenever points of conflict arose.

As an aside to all of this, I also have to say I don’t know exactly how I feel about the way the treatment center’s patients were depicted in the film. It did feel a tad like a freak show element was being exploited for comedic effect, with that effect wearing thin like the few other positive aspects of Marilyn’s Eyes did. It quickly came to be more of a case that you were laughing at the characters rather than with them, and this is something that causes a bit of internal conflict even now after the film is over.

On the whole, Marilyn’s Eyes is less hit and more miss. It is a film with far too little charm to be dancing with such thorny protagonists, and despite often looking vibrant and pretty, it lacks the personality to match. It’s certainly not the finest piece of cinema Italy has ever exported, and I’m not sure it ever had the potential to be.

You can stream Marilyn’s Eyes exclusively on Netflix.

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