Running Time: 115 mins
Rated: MA 15+
Italy has been always famous as a Catholic country centred on the family. If you want to see just how many changes are occurring in the cradle of Roman Catholicism, The Last Kiss might be your best opportunity.
Carlo (Accorsi) and Giulia (Mezzogiorno) have been in a defacto relationship for a couple of years. Giulia is pregnant and there is some pressure from their families to get married before the baby is born. Even though they are in their late twenties and their friends are getting
married or making other life choices, they are resisting the pressure to walk up the aisle. Aided and abetted by his friends, the unhappily married and recent father Adriano (Giorgio Pasotti) and the promiscuous Alberto (Marco Cocci), Carlo needs to prove his youthful virility and so has the briefest of affairs with an eighteen-year-old girl. Giulia finds out and leaves him. Carlo has plenty of growing up to do.
On one level this film charts the angst of thirty-year-olds in the western world who are terrified of life long commitment. We get a glimpse of why this might be the case in the way their parent's marriages are portrayed: overly dependent or sterile and cold or just unhappy. Why should children choose marriage when they see how unhappy it has made their parents?
On another level it also shows how selfish and 'me-centered' this generation can be. The subtitles tell the story. The pronoun I is the most used word in the script. The Last Kiss tells the story of a generation who seemingly want love and all the good things of life, but are not prepared to make any sacrifices for them. We see young people who when faced with
commitment choose flight or fight.
The pace of the Italian dialogue is scatter gun, so be prepared to read very quickly. There is some strong language in this film which will offend some viewers, the relenting pop music on the soundtrack will put others off and the constant ringing of mobile phones will annoy just about everyone.
The lighting and editing, however, are all excellent. The acting is uniformally good if a touch hysterical by Australian standards. The women especially, seem to scream throughout The Last Kiss.
We grow to like Carlo and Giulia and are rewarded for hanging in there with them as they go on this rather self-indulgent and angst-ridden journey. While it's set in Catholic Italy, The Last Kiss explores issues we all know are present in our country as well.
Richard Leonard SJ