Capsule Review: La meglio gioventù (aka The Best of Youth) (2003)
Any review of The Best of Youth can't help but mention its epic length. Originally a mini-series, the film runs a rather encompassing 6 hours, though forgoes the languid pace of similar lengthy features to instead tell a brisk history of two brothers over almost forty years, as well as their family and their respective relationships as they intersect throughout Italy (and elsewhere). While the film touches upon notable periods in Italian culture - the student riots, the 1966 Arno River flood, the red brigades - it's not a travelogue through history like Forrest Gump, but instead a dissection of these familial relationships and the way in which people are pulled apart and brought together. Filled with touching moments of victory and tragedy, it features a collection of magnificent performances - particularly Luigi Lo Cascio and Alessio Boni in the leads. While the two may not age very convincingly over the time period in the film, they both give affecting, powerful performances that brighten would could have been scenes of maudlin sentiment. A beautiful, touching film that was also a massive undertaking by director Marco Tullio Giordana, it slows slightly in its second half (where meetings between characters start to get a little unbelievable), but finishes strongly with moments of honest emotion. Definitely worth the investment.