Just in case you ever doubted Margherita Buy’s talent as an actress and were getting tired of seeing her with all those Best Actress awards, hang on – Nanni Moretti’s ‘Mia Madre’ will change your mind.
Already a master auteur, this is Nanni Moretti’s best work ever, a perfectly balanced, artfully told story about grief, loss, and self-reflection. Nothing maudlin here, and though it is at times achingly sad, it’s not a cheesy tear-jerker. Moretti’s script and Buy’s performance as Margherita, the film director, put the viewer solidly into the story as observation turns to meditation. Buy’s character is the modern everyman; self-absorbed, impatient, and a bit removed from relationships in her life.
Divorced and in a failing relationship, Margherita’s life has four burning pots and no back burner to put them aside to. The film that she’s directing is taking every amount of energy she has, mostly thanks to the manic and arrogant American star (played by John Turturro). At the same time, her mother is in the hospital, dying from heart disease. These things along with the normal everyday life problems are pushing Margherita over the edge. As Moretti also experienced the recent loss of his own mother, the film is semi-autobiographical, making the film’s primary protagonist a woman.
Their darling mother, played by Giulia Lazzarini, is delicately slipping away and wistfully noting her decreased capacity to function, but others remind Margherita and her brother, played by Moretti, that their Mamma had been a dynamic woman who changed people’s lives.