I Travel Alone (Viaggio Sola): Cannes Review
April 24 (in Italy)
Maria Sole Tognazzi
Margherita Buy, Stefano Accorsi, Fabrizia Sacchi, Gian Marco Tognazzi, Lesley Manville
Writer-director Maria Sole Tognazzi's latest dramedy centers on a hotel critic who reviews Europe’s most exclusive resorts.
Europeans are hardly known for the quality of their customer service, so making a film about a woman whose job it is to fix that sounds like a pretty good concept. In this regard, Maria Sole Tognazzi’s breezy Italian dramedy I Travel Alone (Viaggio Sola) has some clever ideas up its sleeve, but otherwise fails to provoke much interest in the travails of its 40-something central character -- a five-star hotel mystery guest who’s as good at criticizing others as she is oblivious to her own glaring imperfections. Part Up in the Air and part Eat Pray Love, yet never all that funny or endearing, this spring sleeper hit in Italy should see fest bookings and small-scale Euro theatrical, while a smarter Hollywood version could spin its pitch into gold.
Irene (Margherita Buy) is a high-class hotel critic who travels to Europe’s most exclusive resorts, only to spend her time writing up elaborately detailed reports about all the things the staff is doing wrong. Whether timing the room service, taking the temperature of white wine or inspecting dust levels with lint gloves, her voyages are far from relaxing, while her home life is pretty much nonexistent -- save for a longstanding friendship with handsome organic food purveyor Andrea (Stefano Accorsi).
But when Andrea tells her that his latest one-night stand is unexpectedly pregnant, it throws Irene’s hermetically sealed ways out of whack, as does the revelation that her sister, Silvia (Fabrizia Sacchi) and brother-in-law, Tommaso (Gian Marco Tognazzi) are suffering through some major marital difficulties. Meanwhile, Irene’s decided to take on even more work, traveling from one hotel to another, including a stopover in Morocco where she nearly gets together with a charming Frenchmen, until learning that he too has been spoken for.
While we’ve all seen comedies about lovesick, upper-bourgeois Europeans before, Tognazzi, along with co-writers Ivan Cotroneo and Francesca Marciano, adds a welcome twist to the genre by having Irene play an outsider in both her personal and professional worlds, as if she were a tourist witnessing her own life from a distance. Yet even if a late encounter with the freethinking intellectual Kate (Mike Leigh veteran Lesley Manville) makes her momentarily reconsider things, including the value of 5-star ratings (“Luxury is a form of deceit,” Kate tells her), there’s really not much of an evolution in Irene’s solo voyage, while her character’s psychology remains fairly muted despite what ultimately happens with Andrea and Silvia.
Nonetheless, Buy (Habemus Papum) offers up a convincingly restrained performance that adds some depth, though little humor, to the proceedings, while Accorsi (Romanzo Criminale) is strong as her seductive and apprehensive buddy. Polished tech credits, including slickly lit photography by Arnaldo Catinari and uber-chic production design by Roberto De Angelis, handsomely capture all the snazzy locations, even if the film seems to be saying that such places are actually less appealing than they look.
Production companies: Biancafilm, Rai Cinema
Cast: Margherita Buy, Stefano Accorsi, Fabrizia Sacchi, Gian Marco Tognazzi, Lesley Manville
Director: Maria Sole Tognazzi
Screenwriters: Ivan Cotroneo, Francesca Marciano, Maria Sole Tognazzi
Producer: Donatella Botti
Director of photography: Arnaldo Catinari
Production designer: Roberto De Angelis
Costume designer: Antonella Cannarozzi
Editor: Walter Fasano
Sales Agent: Rai Cinema
No rating, 86 minutes
- Empire State Building Pays Tribute To Endangered Animals, Remembers Cecil The Lion
- 'Friday Night Lights' Coach Is Back With A Helpful Pep Talk
- A Fair Way to Choose Candidates for Republican Debate: Learning From the Oscars
- Candace Cameron Bure Shares Adorable Snap Of Kimmy, DJ And Stephanie On Set Of 'Fuller House'
- Watch the Fantastic Four Cast Weather These Ignorant Interview Questions
- Travi$ Scott Got Arrested After His Lollapalooza Act for Trying to Make His Fans Go Crazy
- Halt and Catch Fire’s Kerry Bishé on Donna’s Huge Season, and Why the Show Isn’t a Bigger Hit
- Mitt Romney Is Going to Be Pissed If There Are No Pancakes on Stephen Colbert's Late Show
- January Jones, Kiernan Shipka & Jon Hamm Have 'Mad Men' Reunion At Oceana's SeaChange Party
- These Photos of the 'Fantastic Four' Cast Holding Hands in NYC Are Cutest Thing You'll See Today
- Kylie Jenner Shows Off Killer Bikini Body in New Selfie
- Christina Applegate Answers Question About 80s Breakup With Brad Pitt (Video)