THE HAND OF GOD: A beautiful glimpse at the highs and lows of one teenager
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Stars: Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo, Luisa Ranieri, and Marlon Joubert
There is no question that The Hand of God hits every note that it sends out to hit. This story, about the Italian experience of a teenager in the 1980’s has one of the most beautiful settings of all time as it’s set in Napoli. It’s characters are well fleshed out and we get so many moments to enjoy and understand each one. The score is beautiful, and the script is strong. Yet this Italian film by the incredible Paolo Sorrentino just didn’t land with me the way it should’ve despite all of its excellent features.
In 1980’s Napoli, a Young Fabietto pursues his love for football as family tragedy strikes, shaping his uncertain but promising future as a filmmaker.
The title is used to give us a time period, after all the film is named after the iconic Diego Maradono hand goal against the English in the FIFA World Cup. The Maradona goal, and Diego himself is referenced dozens of times throughout the first half of the film- and its Important is soon discovered as the moment our lead, Filippo really begins his growth process. It becomes the transition moment that moves the film from a coming of age story about expressing sexuality, family bonds, and dealing with the average young soon to be adults day to day struggles, to something much more serious. It transitions from those good vibes, to a story about finding ones voice, combating through grief, and growing as an individual even when the deck is against you. Both stories get enough time to develop, and both stories feel like they’re edited in as naturally possible with zero disjointing in the change of mood.
Its a technical spectacular as well, we have some stunning shots of Napoli and a score that will definitely be remembered. Sorrentino unapologetically shows the woman body in its natural state, glimmering with pride and shot to take in every inch of it. Sorrentino showcases the beauty of humanity in all shapes and ages, something that one must respect from the director as its something so many others have shied away from or selectively chosen from what’s perceived as normal beauty. The score and cinematography balance together harmoniously, especially in the scene where Filippo meets a director by the name of Antonio Capuano. The meeting is memorable, because of the way that the score and camera angles played into the discussion that they were having.
The acting is strong all around, Scotti does a great job as our lead and really grabbed the lost youthfulness in his character with so much skill. While, Luisa Ranieri is probably the second most memorable character within the film as Filippo’s cousin Patrizia. Her dialogue is strong, and the camera just loved her every time that she was on screen as if her presence commanded to be the focal point.
In the end, The Hand of God is a phenomenal movie in so many ways- and even though in the end it didn’t hit the way that I wanted it too. I do believe that it’s strong enough, that it will resonate with so many other people in a way that it wasn’t able to do with me.