Combining an Italian director and screenwriter(Saverio Costanzo) , a New York location, a top Italian actress (Alba Rohrwacher) and an American rising star (Girls star Adam Driver), Hungry Hearts makes for an eerily engaging emotional thriller, and one of my favorites at this past year’s Venice Film Festival.
After a meeting in the bathroom of a New York City Chinese restaurant brings Jude, a young American engineer (Driver) and Mina (Rohrwacher), an Italian girl working for the embassy together and a pregnancy seals the deal. But the romantic idea of throwing caution to the wind and marrying someone you know too little about is a bad one for Jude.
There were early signs of Mina’s mental unbalance; her unwillingness to eat during her pregnancy was clearly something beyond ordinary morning sickness. But starving herself is one thing; starving the baby is another. Hungry Hearts will confirm every meat eater’s suspicion that vegans are evil food haters. As Mina’s phobias and idiosyncrasies grow stronger, Jude withdraws from the world in an attempt to focus on his child and protect him; but from what? Is Mina really trying to kill her child?
Hungry Hearts cleverly combines provocative current topics like Indigo Children, veganism for babies and the use of untraditional medicine and makes them seem sinister here, but obsession is the villain and it is a pervasive threat for everyone involved.
Alba Rohrwacher was the perfect choice in the role of Mina, the mother with the monster-sized love for her child, fragile, terrifying, timid, and yet controlling, all at once. I don’t know; she scared me.