Made in Italy Review

Made in Italy

If the name James D’Arcy sounds familiar, then you’d be right. Best known as Edwin Jarvis on “Agent Carter” and Avengers: Endgame, D’Arcy is now trying his hand at directing. So what kind of film are we getting with his directorial debut?

In Made in Italy, James D’Arcy successfully uses parallelism and symbolism to reflect the film’s themes of forgiveness and moving on. As a result, his first feature is a personal and uplifting film that preaches an important lesson about life.

Made in Italy follows Jack, a gallery curator with aspirations to own an art gallery. To afford the cost, Jack convinces his father, Robert, to sell his family’s Tuscan home. During their time together in Italy, both Robert and Jack find themselves.

With Made in Italy, D’Arcy primarily focuses on the themes of forgiveness and moving on, putting it front and center for everyone to understand. The most blatant example is the film’s strained father and son relationship. Jack has a frosty and troubled relationship with his father, Robert. In turn, Robert is also cold and has difficulty connecting with his son. Through events you’ll find in the film, you’ll see that Robert has some inner demons that are causing him to be distant with his son. 

Made in Italy - Micheál Richardson and Liam Neeson

The film also creates a parallel between the repair of the Tuscan villa and Robert and Jack’s relationship. Yet like the expedited repairs to the house, the repairs to their relationship seem more sudden than gradual. At the same time, major developments in their character arcs become the catalyst for their healing relationship. As a result, Made in Italy focuses more on their individual growth rather than the rebuilding of their relationship. 

The film’s parallelism isn’t just relegated to just the storyline, either. Much like the quaint Tuscan countryside, the film follows a similar tone and feel as well. Everything from the humor to the cinematography, there’s a quiet charm to it all. James D’Arcy lets his story and humor unfold naturally. In turn, you’re never bored because the film knows when to grab you when things start to slow down. All of this assists in connecting audiences with the characters. When you connect with the characters, the more you want Robert and Jack to resolve their differences and become a family again. 

Luckily, Micheál Richardson is Liam Neeson’s real-life son. So it’s extremely easy for both of them to embody their respective characters. First off, Richardson is the heart of this movie. The pain in his performance as his life begins to fall apart is palpable. There’s also a certain likability to Richardson that also makes his connection to Natalia more believable. Also, Liam Neeson brings a similar energy to Robert as well. There’s also a believability to his performance because, unfortunately, Neeson’s life parallels Robert’s.

Overall, Made in Italy is a fantastic first directorial effort for actor James D’Arcy. His use of parallelism and symbolism to express the themes helped create an uplifting film that teaches an important life lesson. Of course, when you have a real-life father and son as your lead actors, then your job is a little easier.

Rating: 4/5 atoms

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