The Family Friend

2006 Drama

In writer/director Paolo Sorrentino's second feature, The Family Friend (L'Amico di Famiglia), Giacomo Rizzo stars as Geremia de Geremei, a sixtysomething tailor who lives with his mother in a disgusting and decrepit flat. Though wealthy from the money that he has culled via loan-sharking, Geremia is a thoroughly miserable wretch, driven into the throes of destruction by his own incredible selfishness and his obsessive infatuation with a beautiful local girl, Rosalba (Laura Chiatta), whom he meets when asked to assist with her wedding. Geremia agrees, but takes the bride off alone and pressures her into sex, little realizing that he's sowing the seeds of his own downfall. Meanwhile, a bidet supplier attempts to goad Geremia into giving him a massive loan -- an amount that Geremia could never possibly fork over. Throughout the film, Sorrentino packs in numerous surrealistic touches, from the sight of a nun buried up to her neck in sand (accompanied by an aural assault on the soundtrack) to a grotesque glimpse of Rizzo with a potato poultice around his head to the jarring sight of Geremia's village, built by Mussolini on an Italian swampland. In the process, Sorrentino manages to create his own distinct world and thoroughly unforgettable characters. He also pulls off an incredibly difficult feat, by enabling the audience to care about a markedly unpleasant central figure.~ Nathan Southern, All Movie Guide

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