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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 13 November 2006
This delightful Italian comedy, shows how Rosalba, an Italian hosewife, taken for granted by her family, who has lived her whole life in Pescara, Italy ... takes a vacation from them all to visit Venice, Italy. There she begins a new life with a zany group of characters who become her friends. She finds pleasure in simple everday life activities. She takes joy in spontaneously responding to the new experiences this vacation has opened for her. She meets a waiter, who provides her with a room to stay in when her funds are low. She gets a job in a florist's shop, where the owner is an eccentric old gentleman who has the habit of discussing anarchy. She rekindles her musical talent after discovering an accordion ... Rosalba is accepted for who she is by her new cohorts. In this environment, Rosalba compares her old constrained stifling life with her recently discovered freedom. The question is, will Rosalba give up her freedom, now that she has experienced independence?

The film begins as a tour guide describes ancient Roman ruins and explains in lyrical verse how the Greeks and Italians intermarried and essentially began Western civilization, the group is provided a snack break. Rosalba is inadvertently left behind when she visits the ladies restroom where she accidentally drops her ring in the toilet. After fishing out the ring with a bit of difficulty, she steps out only to discover the tour bus driving off - without her. She telephones her husband Mimmo who berates her for getting lost. This reaction on his part, gives her the spontaneous impetus to take a vacation on her own from her former life. The viewer can sense the birth of this plan as Rosalba hitches a ride with two unusual characters ... The final destination of one of the drivers is Venice, on the spur of the moment, as Pescara, her home city is nearing, she decides to visit Venice, a place she has wanted to see but never been.

The crux of the comedy is built around how her macho husband, who owns a bathroom fixture business with his brother, attempts to track her down in Venice. Mimmo interviews a portly young man named Constantino for a job as a plumber, when he discovers his hobby is reading detective stories, he offers Constantino an opportunity to *become* a detective. Constantino's adventures in Venice are very funny. When he gets to Venice it is the busy tourist season and hotel rooms are scarce. A shady character offers him a hotel room which ends being a rinky dinky old houseboat ... To find Rosalba, he posts flyers with her photo in many strategic locations around Venice. After seeing one, Rosalba phones and meets with him but manages to escape ... Constantino follows her stealthfully to her apartment. Grazia, the masseuse, mistakes him for a client and he lies to gain access into the building. Grazia falls in love with him and Constantino reciprocates the feelings. There are immensely funny episodes and comedic events which play out as this couple works out their relationship. Rosalba does eventually return home to her family, filled with nostalgic memories about her independent vacation. Suddenly, The waiter with whom she shared many delightful moments in Venice visits her and declares his love ... Rosalba has a serious decison before her, to remain in her old life or take up the new independent one. The viewer will be pleased with her choice. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)
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on 14 July 2004
I have now seen this film twice and have recently managed to find it on DVD. It is the most amazing film. Tender witty and compelling with a good mixture of comedy and saddness. It keeps the viewer spell bond from the beginning to the end. It is the story of a middle aged women who at the beginning of the film is on a family holiday with her husband two sons and other members of the family. Then after being left at a motorway cafe by mistake her adventures begin.
The actors take you on this magical trip. It doesn't seem to matter that it is in Italian although it is subtitled.
It is a must and I am very surprised that this film has never been on general release here.
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on 9 September 2011
If you believe it is never too late to be what you might have been, this is the film for you. Saw it in the theater a decade ago, then bought it over the holidays for our little film library. Loved it as much the second time. Good, old fashioned, love story told with humor and tenderness.
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on 2 February 2011
This story of a housewife who feels she's been taken for granted for too long is a gem. With a new life in venice, the wonderful Bruno Ganz as a new friend and the bumbling private eye/cum plumber, it's a pure joy.
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on 21 March 2014
I bought this film for my Mum who is Italian and we watched it as a family. It is great entertainment and suitable for all the family without being stuffy or prim. It is amazing how quickly you get to know and identify with the characters, the acting us really good by the stars and supporting roles.
Venice as ever us a star in its own right. I would like to have something happen in my life line this!
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on 9 October 2011
Italy has always produced more comedies than other film categories, and not only since not all roles in the traditional Commedia d'Arte are comical, it has used a wide variety of actors and actresses - very often also ones we know from serious roles, like Antonioni's icon Monica Vitti. Here, the surprise is not la Vitti, but Bruno Ganz, Zurich actor with an Italian mother. Known as top actor internationally from Berlin's Schaubuehne am Halleschen Ufer, Ganz has more recently also become an actor in international films.
In this award-winning 2000 romance directed by Italian Director Silvio Soldini - the film was an official selection at numerous international film festivals, including Cannes and Toronto - he is starring opposite the internationally unknown Licia Maglietta, a natural acting talent herself, in the role of an Italian housewife. Maglietta finds herself stranded during a family bus vacation stop. Instead of waiting for her domineering plumbing business husband to get her back, she hitchhikes to Venice, an old dream, on her way home to the upper Po town of Piazenza.
Well, neither initially nor in the long run, the return home works out, but through a turbulent series of coincidences, Maglietta finds accommodation with restaurant maitre d' Fernando Girasole (Ganz), and then a job in a flower shop, and quite obviously starts to enjoy her new life. Through an applicant plumber turned into private detective, Maglietta's husband uncanningly opens a second parallel love affair, and rather than getting his wife back, loses wife and plumber to Vernezian lovers. Awards: 5 Nastro d'Argento and 9 David di Donatello. Rightly so!

9 Oct 2011
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on 11 March 2009
This film is magic - so much tenderness mingled with the comedy. In fact, it's much more than a comedy, given the story of a woman who manages to break away from her domestic prison and rebuild her life. Such a subtle understanding of women's needs. The two leading actors give touching performances. No surprise from Bruno Ganz, who is one of the greats, but Licia Maglietta was unknown to me and she is just as good.
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on 11 May 2013
If you want to spend a pleasant 90 minutes with a light and charming film, you will like this. It is no masterpiece, but excellent entertainment. A bit similar to the well known comedies directed by de Sica.

J Fisher
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on 20 June 2016
charming and laugh out loud funny in places
my only criticism is that sometimes the dialogue is difficult to hear so I had to crank up the sound, and then got blasted when music was played.

The acting is understated but brilliant.
The plot is excellent, and I found myself instantly drawn to the characters.

If you are looking for the subtitles go to the main menu, and it is the "button" on the right - there are four buttons, two on top, two below, and select Inglese.
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on 1 June 2015
Other reviewers have felt there was something of the Shirley Valentine about this film and I agree, it definitely has that air about it - though Rosalba's decision to leave her family and seek a change of life for herself is more to do with circumstance at the offset, than choice. This story captures just what many people (regardless of gender) feel at a certain time in their lives, when it all no longer seems to hold the thrill it used to - we think we're too old for adventure, we are bored with the mundaneness of it all and long to escape, but seldom do because our duties compel us to stay. This film, just like Shirley Valentine is a film that makes us consider 'what if....' It begs us ask the question and then, it takes hold and is impossible to shake - 'what if....'

A must watch.....
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