The Hand of God

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The expression “the Hand of God” could denote the twists of fate that occur in life, but it’s also a phrase that Argentine footballer Diego Maradona used to describe a goal he made at the 1986 World Cup. 17-year-old Fabietto is a big fan of the athlete. There’s a rumor that Maradona might be moving to Naples. This gets the whole town talking, but it’s just one of many details in this coming-of-age tale.

The autobiographical chronicle is set in the 1980s and concerns a young man. Fabietto (Filippo Scotti) clearly represents the director as a teen. It’s a study of his family. This meandering collection of vignettes takes place while growing up. Fabietto lives with his parents (Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo) in Naples. Mother Maria enjoys playing practical jokes. However, the first person we meet is his Aunt Patrizia (Luisa Ranieri). She’s something of a muse to the young boy. The vibrant woman has enchanted all the men of the town with her exhibitionism. Oh, but before you cast judgment, please note she is deeply troubled. Then we are introduced to various other people. There are some odd developments. One stands out. He has an elderly gray-haired neighbor, Baroness Focale (Betti Pedrazzi). The scene begins with her asking for him to get rid of a bat that flew into her bedroom. It ends with an even more bizarre request. He doesn’t seem traumatized by her behavior, but I was.

The Hand of God is a loosely constructed anecdotal collection of random events. The Italian drama is written, directed, and produced by Paolo Sorrentino. This is Italy’s hope for a nomination at the upcoming Academy Awards next March. Given its pedigree, I’d say its chances are pretty good. Sorrentino is best known for the 2013 film The Great Beauty which won both the Oscar and the BAFTA for Foreign Language Film. The first half is fairly happy and then adversity strikes midway through. The second section is sadder as Fabietto deals with his grief. I hoped the tragedy would provide some focus. Plenty happens but the account remains superficial. The seeds for the future director’s interest in cinema are detailed, but it has little else to say. Some praise or condemnation for what transpires might have instilled this screenplay with a point of view. This rambling saga merely presents a lot of stuff. The story is aimless. Some of it captivated me. Naples is a beautiful city. Daria D’Antonio’s cinematography captures that, but I craved more momentum.


2 Responses to “The Hand of God”

  1. Naples is indeed beautiful. Movie, not so much. Everyone in is his family was just awful. They just tore each other down, every opportunity they had. I didn’t like that. I guess the director wanted to show this truth, but he could have eased up on the nastiness and sexual content. 2 1/2 ⭐️

    Liked by 1 person

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