A tradition of Italian comedy is resurrected for this “feel-good” comedy.
Written in the style of a commedia all’italiana, writer and director Edoardo Falcone’s debut feature GOD WILLING (Se Dio Vuole) the “comedy in the Italian style” is most certainly a throwback to the broad lampooning of Italy’s sacred cows that were popular in the 1950s.
Cocky atheist surgeon Tommaso (Marco Giallini) considers himself to be incredibly liberal, but is floored when his son Andrea announces he wants to be a Catholic priest. Determined to find the shady side of charismatic and influential Father Don Piedro (Alessandro Gassman), he goes “undercover” by helping Piedro rebuild a chapel in the countryside. Using the broad conventions of traditional comedy, the film of occasional errors plays out with farcical predicability. Neglecting his wife Carla (Laura Morante) to a student occupy movement, Tommasi alienates his dysfunctional family, unable to see it is not brainwashing but his own attitude that has ‘turned’ his clan.
Whether it is the retro nature of the comedy style, or the very specific cultural Italian references that flash by at a speed of knots, GOD WILLING is a difficult viewing experience if you aren’t in tune with the tropes of the genre. It also doesn’t help that none of the characters, including Ilaria Spada as Tommasi’s beautiful but ditzy daughter and her baffled on-screen husband Edoardo Pesce, are anything more caricatures. It’s intended as a kind of feel-good universality, yet there are times when the broadness of the comedy is actually offensive, with Tomasso’s brother-in-law feigning having an intellectual disability as part of an elaborate ruse to fool the Padre, and these sequences are just uncomfortable to watch. At other times, there’s a genuine bond growing between Tomasi and Piedro that forms the emotional core of the film, leading to a familiar musing about the faith to have the courage of one’s own convictions. It’s just a shame that this film didn’t believe in itself enough to find a balance between farce and faith.
GOD WILLING opens in Australia on 2 June 2016 from Palace Films.
2015 | Italy | Dir: Edoardo Falcone | Writers: Edoardo Falcone, Marco Martani | Cast: Marco Giallini, Alessandro Gassmann, Laura Morante, Ilaria Spada, Edoardo Pesce, Enrico Oetiker, Carlo De Ruggieri | Distributor: Palace Films | Running time: 87 minutes | Rating:★★½ (5/10)