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The First Beautiful Thing(La prima cosa bella)

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Italy · 2010
2h 2m
Director Paolo Virzì
Starring Valerio Mastandrea, Micaela Ramazzotti, Claudia Pandolfi, Stefania Sandrelli
Genre Comedy, Drama

The story of the Michelucci family, from the 1970s to the present day. Everything begins in the summer of 1971, at an annual beauty pageant. Anna, the stunningly beautiful and lively mother of Bruno and Valeria, is unexpectedly crowned "Most Beautiful Mother," unwittingly stirring the violent jealousy of her husband.

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Variety by

Occasionally affecting but unremarkable, the picture's emotional moments are designed to pluck local heartstrings.


NPR by Ella Taylor

It's fair to say that men in general and ardent Catholics in particular don't come off well. Yet even they are humanized by the movie's merciful temper, and by a cast of damaged ancillary characters wearing eccentric goodwill on their sleeves.


New York Daily News by Joe Neumaier

A streak of "Cinema Paradiso" runs through this Italian dramedy - and while it lacks that film's overflowing emotion, it's filled with its own artfulness and warmth.


Time Out by Keith Uhlich

This was Italy's official submission for Best Foreign Film to the 2011 Academy Awards (a red flag more often than not), and, sure enough there's little here that rises above middlebrow.


The New York Times by Neil Genzlinger

Comedy and poignancy weave together in Mr. Virzì's hands, but the maudlin meter only occasionally goes into the red zone. And Ms. Pandolfi gives such an exquisitely understated performance that you don't realize until the very end that the film was as much about her character as it was about Bruno and Anna.


Boston Globe by Ty Burr

The First Beautiful Thing is the kind of movie - that escapes the sick room to cavort at carnivals and eat cotton candy until the inevitable relapse.

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