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In Search of Fellini
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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

welcome to the universe

Author: David Ferguson ( from Dallas, Texas
30 April 2017

USA Film Festival 2017 Greetings again from the darkness. Even In this age of "helicopter parenting" it's disconcerting to see such flagrant over-protectiveness as that perpetuated by Maria Bello's character on her daughter Lucy. For film lovers, it's even more disheartening to see how the mother uses "happy ending" movies such as It's a Wonderful Life to create the social bubble that results in 20 year old Lucy having never been kissed, and having no concept of reality (outside of what she has seen in movies).

Contrary to what that set-up would have us believe, director Taron Lexton's film is actually less Coming-of-Age and more 'Welcome to the Universe', and Lucy's journey of self-discovery is quite enjoyable to behold. Co-written by Nancy Cartwright and Peter Kjenaas, it's the 'based on a true story' of Ms. Cartwright's own personal journey prior to her nearly 30 year run as the voice of Bart Simpson.

Lucy (Ksenia Solo, Black Swan) is off on an interview-gone-wrong when she stumbles into a Fellini film festival. She is immediately entranced by the obscure imagery and often less-than-happy endings. In fact, she connects with the films in such a manner that she is inspired to travel to Italy and meet with the Maestro himself. Ms. Cartwright's real life motivation stemmed from watching Fellini's La Strada (1954), and she instantly saw herself in Gelsomina (played by the spirited Giuletta Masina).

Her travels through Italy are filled with ups and downs, and Lucy crosses paths with good people and bad. It's her first true life experience and we are along for the ride. The structure of the story is such that as Lucy is discovering life, her mother (Bello) is back home in Ohio slowly losing her battle with cancer while being nursed by her straight-talking sister (Mary Lynn Rajskub, Chloe from "24"). Such contrasting elements would fit right in to a Fellini film.

At some point, most movie lovers experience the awakening that occurs when graduating from pleasant, feel good family movies to more esoteric and philosophical cinema. Fortunately, this awakening typically occurs before age 20 and does not require an international trip or dying mother to allow us to grow as a person. Ms. Cartwright's willingness to share her story makes for interesting filmmaking and one of the more unusual coming-of-age (or Welcome to the Universe) twists that we've seen on screen.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful, visual film

Author: edieinc from United States
21 September 2017

Loved the film. The lead, not sure of her name, was charming as hell and the film was lush and visually amazing. The energy of the film moved fast and forward and made it fun to watch. I'm amazed they got the locations they did. The story inspired me to go out and live more and take some chances. It hot the romantic and adventurous nature in me. This is a date movie for sure. A perfect film to take your gal to and let the film take you on an adventure. Enjoy.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

My Favorite Thing About Art

Author: md-45755 from New York City
20 September 2017

If you're looking for a typical Hollywood cookie-cutter predictable film, stay at home and watch Bridget Jones because this isn't one of those.

Its stunning photography and enough of a Fellini film's "Huh?", mixed with a story which made me have to suspend belief a couple times but then I remembered it's not a documentary so I was good again. Oh, yeah - it's a movie! I got immersed, involved and actually got a bit emotional at the end.

I probably came away with a slightly different take on what the film was about than you will, and that's my favorite thing about art. Go see it and enjoy the beauty of your own journey with this lovely film.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Truly Touching Film

Author: jianinehuff from Los Angeles, CA
20 September 2017

I went into this film not knowing much about what the story would be, but that it was mostly based on true events that depicted a young girl's journey to Italy in search of a director.

For me, it was really a beautiful story about family, adventure, love, loss, personal growth, independence and persevering through barriers to achieve your purpose. It was gorgeously shot and really moved me both visually and emotionally.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Lyrically shot, beautiful story AND a trip to Italy!

Author: Jim Meskimen from United States
16 September 2017

This film is a magical journey, truly. The cinematography, sound and music combine with winning direction and performances to make for a very emotional and aesthetic film. Plus, you really feel like you have been to Venice, Rome and Verona! Well done, all departments. I enjoyed it very much and so did my wife and my mom.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

An unexpected pleasure

Author: gcoombsou
28 September 2017

You don't have to be a Fellini fan to enjoy and appreciate this movie, but if you have some familiarity, you will catch the references built into both the story and the cinematography (which is beautiful) and the Fellini clips integrated throughout. The story is a stylized, semi-autobiographical view of a solo trip co-writer Nancy Cartwright made to Italy in her early 20s after becoming enamored of the films of Federico Fellini. Ksenia Solo as Lucy, gives a wonderful performance, growing from wide eyed innocence and naivety through her experiences, good and bad (and bizarre). Her eyes alone speak volumes in every scene. Maria Bello and Mary Lynn Rajskub as Lucy's mother and aunt also shine as they negotiate their relationships both with Lucy and each other.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A fantastic and moving experience

Author: Tony Falcaro from United States
20 September 2017

Just a wonderful vibrant story about coming of age . Smartly written, beautifully imaged, thoroughly well acted, directed and scored. Evoked many emotions for me personally. A true work of art... I encourage all to see it .. it's a cinematic experience that speaks to why we all love To go to the movies ...

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Moving, compelling, thought provoking

Author: gene-denos from United States
15 September 2017

We love the doting mother who creates a daughter child who is open to experience the true soul of life. Piqued by Fellini she takes us on an awakening journey and through her we experience love and life. I felt the film resonate in so many ways. What a wonder break from car chases and explosions. Don't miss this film. If you do you will miss one of the best films of the year.

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Sheltered young woman blossoms on trip to Italy

Author: interbang
9 October 2017

This is a perfect movie for anyone who loves Italy and Fellini. It gets off to a charming start, then jumps up a level when the action moves to Genoa, Venice and Rome. Anyone familiar with Fellini's films will instantly key in on what Nancy Cartwright is after. Who would have expected this from the voice of Bart Simpson? Charming characters, the tone never falters. Highly recommended.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant, emotional, one of a kind

Author: Meghan Fialkoff from United States
24 September 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was non-stop, taking you on a ride, exciting, adventurous, emotional, beautiful, aesthetic, warm, intense, mysterious -- adjectives that I can use to describe very few movies nowadays. This movie was crafted so well, drew you into the movie and the story and the character's feelings, viewpoint, life, so much -- that you were constantly wanting the next scene to come -- faster and faster than it ever could! The music was gorgeous, very sweet, very beautiful. The colors, the scenery, the cinematography was excellent. The entire story really was just extremely unique, extremely emotional, and truly -- was just a wonderful exhibit of storytelling. I highly recommend and think this movie really should get very high honors at award ceremonies this year.

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