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Happy as Lazzaro(Lazzaro felice)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Italy, Switzerland, France

2018

Rated PG-13 • 2h 5m

Director Alice Rohrwacher

Starring Adriano Tardiolo, Agnese Graziani, Luca Chikovani, Alba Rohrwacher

Genre Drama

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In rural Italy, Lazzaro, a good-hearted young peasant is happy with his life. But that life is altered dramatically when he forms an unlikely friendship with Tancredi, the son of a greedy noblewoman. Disillusioned with his mother’s exploitation of the workers on her estate, Tancredi asks Lazzaro to help him orchestrate his own kidnapping.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

75

The A.V. Club by A.A. Dowd

Though gently outraged in its portrait of class divisions, Happy As Lazzaro mostly takes its tonal cues from the eponymous character’s comically gentle, trusting nature.
90

Village Voice by Bilge Ebiri

Lazzaro Felice has genuine sweep and grandeur, and Rohrwacher’s most impressive feat here might be her ability to find just the right narrative and emotional distance for each section of the story, as it moves from rustic drama to picaresque journey to more pointed social allegory; we’re always given just enough information to understand and appreciate the characters’ interactions and motivations.
60

The Hollywood Reporter by Boyd van Hoeij

The main problem of Happy as Lazzaro is that it's unclear what Rohrwacher finally wants to say in part two, which combines the near-documentary realism of her first feature with the occasional flights of fancy of her second.
83

IndieWire by Eric Kohn

The movie lulls you into its unpredictable rhythms, and a striking poetry creeps into the material, finally overtaking it.
80

Variety by Guy Lodge

The film, for all its interest in fables, trades less in morals than in equivocal, irony-laced human observation. Rohrwacher deftly skirts sentimentality even as she risks big, expansive poetic gestures.
80

The Guardian by Gwilym Mumford

With Happy as Lazzaro, Rohrwacher has crafted a magic-realist fable that doubles as an origin myth for a modern Italy subsumed by corruption and decline.
90

Screen International by Jonathan Romney

Beautifully shot, like Rohrwacher’s other features, on Super-16, this film, with its richly textured images, does indeed feel at times like a retrieved and rather miraculous relic from a lost era of cinema, which is not to say that it isn’t of its own moment.
83

The Playlist by Jordan Ruimy

Through a few dreamlike, discreet and beautifully placed sequences, Rohrwacher makes us believe that a world of empathy and accord may someday exist again.
100

The Film Stage by Rory O'Connor

You could argue that Lazzaro Felice owes a debt to Pasolini with its fascination for peasants, saints, and faces, or even Gabriel Garcia Marquez with its mix of rural life and magical realism, but that would be to discredit the shear vivacity and boldness of Rohrwacher’s directorial hand, not to mention her incredible warmth as a filmmaker.
75

TheWrap by Steve Pond

If you can surrender to her peculiar vision, its beauty is undeniable; if not, impatience may set in long before the film winds down just past the two-hour mark.

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