A delicate, nuanced film that is unexpectedly moving in its portrait of a young Italian family living through the turbulent, freedom-loving 70s, Those Happy Years uses ironic distance to talk about very intimate things. Director Daniele Luchetti (My Brother is an Only Child) brings a personal, even autobiographical urgency to the story, coolly told in hindsight by a narrator who watched his parents’ marriage unravel when he was a child.

Guido Marchetti (Kim Rossi Stuart) is an ambitious but still unknown avant-garde artist. He sculpts female nudes in his Roman studio by pouring plaster over models’ naked bodies. Serena (Micaela Ramazzotti) is a pretty, curly-haired housewife who understands all too well what her good-looking spouse is up to. Serena has always accepted Guido’s attitude that a wife should stay home, but now something changes inside her. Serena puts aside her doubts and heads off to a feminist retreat. There, as the expression goes, she learns a lot about herself.

Rossi Stuart is wholly believable as the angry, self-absorbed artist, but Ramazzotti steals the spotlight with her engaging pout and sudden courage to follow her own path.

Deborah Young
The Hollywood Reporter