The Solitude of Prime Numbers, La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi, is a 2010 David di Donatello “best film award” movie by Saverio Costanzo, a young director with not a whole lot of work under his belt. It was nominated for many awards, including one for it’s lead actress, the ubiquitous (and super talented) Alba Rohrwacher – I thought she actually had a chance of winning.
This is not a movie that is available in US theaters – yet – or for rental in America. I think it might be someday, but in the meantime, if you have a region free DVD player, you can buy the PAL zone 2 version with English subtitles from ibs.it or from Amazon.
Is it worth it? Yes and no.
The movie did a really good job of making me care about the characters, but a bad job of telling their story. The filming is at once creative and confusing with dizzying flashbacks. The acting is outstanding but the screenplay is not.
I ached for Alice (Rohrbacher) and Mattia (Luca Marinelli), two social misfits who for various reasons are friendless and not suited to making friends. Like the prime numbers that Mattia, the genius, studies, and the film compares him to, he and Alice are solitary and don’t interact well with others. For 95% of the movie their seemingly tenuous but actually quite meaningful relationship makes perfect sense to me. And then the ending ruins it.
Not everybody in this world can talk to people and Alice and Mattia are two that can not. They’re lucky to have found each other, because the lack of words doesn’t freak either of them out and Rohrwacher and Marinelli do a fine job of playing the perpetually uncomfortable and awkward young people. An alarming note: both changed body appearance in most likely very unhealthy ways for this film. As the characters aged, Alice became anorexic, and Alba’s naked body made it clear that she’d actually lost the weight for the part. Marinelli, on the other hand had gained weight and was bloated and unshaven.
One of the best performance came from Isabella Rossellini, playing Mattia’s mother, at the end of her rope worrying about Mattia’s future. And the children – where do they get these kids? Italian movies seem to have a limitless supply of talented child actors that you never see again in a movie.
The end is completely unbelievable. I guess I understand what they were trying to do, but it was a mistake. It felt like somebody changed the channel and I wasn’t even watching the same movie.
La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi is a flawed movie with great performances and worth watching for Rohrwacher and Rossellini.
Director: Saverio Costanzo
Writers: Paolo Giordano, Saverio Costanzo
Stars: Alba Rohrwacher, Luca Marinelli and Martina Albano