(*homocinematically inclined)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Reel Thoughts: Guess Who’s Coming Out for Dinner

You could call the Italian dramedy Loose Cannons “Guess Who’s Coming Out for Dinner?” and your guess would probably be wrong. Tommaso Cantone (Riccardo Scamarccio) is the younger son of a pasta-making dynasty. While his conservative Catholic parents think he’s at business school in Rome, he has actually been writing a novel and living with a gorgeous man named Marco (Carmine Recano). He returns home to attend a big family dinner during which his father plans to pass the business down to him and his brother. What better time to come out to his family and pass the reins over to his brother Antonio (Alessandro Preziosi), who has been working at the factory for years. As a test run, Tommaso tells Antonio that he’s gay, and his brother seems okay with it.

Then, at dinner, it is Antonio that steals the moment and announces that he is gay. He is immediately disowned and kicked out of the house, and worse yet, Tommaso’s father suffers a heart attack and collapses. Suddenly, Tommaso is the good son, expected to take over the plant and save the family business. Antonio is relieved to be free of his obligations and goes in search of the man he loved and wronged years ago. On the other hand, Tommaso suddenly feels trapped the way Antonio did all those years, now unable to come out to his family for fear of killing off his father.

The only person who really understands what Tommaso is going through is his kind grandmother (Ilaria Occhini) who once gave up her happiness to marry a man she didn’t love, rather than his brother, who was the love of her life. Tommaso’s attempts to hide his Roman life become much more complicated when Marco, his boyfriend, and his three flamboyant friends show up to find out what happened to him. Their attempts to blend in will strike a chord with any man who has tried to “tone it down” for a family function.

Loose Cannons is a touching, funny film full of handsome Italian actors and a randy European sensibility. A tragedy late in the film provides the catalyst for all of the Cantones to reevaluate their lives and attitudes and to grow into a real family. Director Ferzan Ozpetek, who made a splash with his 1997 film Steam: The Turkish Bath, does a great job balancing the humor and drama the story provides, and he gets great performances from his actors, particularly Occhini, who creates the kind of strong, compassionate woman every LGBT person wishes they had in their family.

Loose Cannons (now available on DVDand on all VOD platforms) is an entertaining trip to Italy that won’t cost you a thousand Euros.

Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

1 comment:

  1. I loved LOOSE CANNONS when I saw it a year or so ago (and blogged about it myself) - its a perfect trip to Italy and yes Ilaria Occhini is perfection as the wise grand-mother.