'Lost in Florence': Film Review

John O’Malley
The filmmaker went to Italy and all you got was this mediocre movie.

A depressed American finds love in the historic city in Evan Oppenheimer's romantic drama.

Any visitor to Florence knows that the myriad temptations include beautiful people, sumptuous food and wine and more stunning art than you could see in a lifetime. But for filmmakers, there's a danger of succumbing to one in particular. They’ll inevitably want to make a movie in the picturesque historical city.

Such was the case for writer/director Evan Oppenheimer, whose Lost in Florence reveals the hazards of succumbing to the impulse. In this romantic drama, gorgeous bodies are displayed; delicious gelato is consumed; the exotic sport of calcio storico (“historic football”) is given plenty of screen time; and, needless to say, there’s lots of gorgeous scenery. What the film doesn’t have is anything resembling a compelling narrative.  

The story revolves around Eric (Brett Dalton), who’s vacationing in Florence with his longtime girlfriend Colleen (Emily Atack). After his elaborately staged marriage proposal goes awry and Colleen returns home to the U.S., the inconsolable Eric decides to stay in Florence with his cousin Anna (Stana Kanic) and her Italian husband Gianni (Marco Bonini).

After a long spell of depression, Eric is finally coaxed by Gianni into joining him to watch the game — a combination of soccer, rugby and, well, brutal violence — that is a hugely popular summer event in the city. A former college football star, Eric finds himself deeply attracted to the sport and persuades some locals to let him join their team despite their reluctance to let a foreigner play. Eric also finds himself deeply attracted to the beautiful Stefania (Alessandria Mastronardi), who happens to be the girlfriend of his teammate Paolo (Alessandro Preziosi). Predictable complications ensue, with Eric, in a reversal of the usual romantic movie conundrum, eventually forced to choose between two women vying for his love.

The leisurely paced storyline is not enhanced by the stock characters, clichéd dialogue (Eric is constantly being warned that Italian women are trouble) and picture-postcard views of the normally packed city that here seem remarkably cleared out so the main characters can have it pretty much to themselves. Add to that the bland performances (with the exception of the vivaciously sexy Mastronardi), the ridiculous number of times Dalton bares his shirt to reveal his impossibly toned torso and the lengthy, climactic sports match that provides no suspense whatsoever, and you’ll feel very lost in Florence indeed.

Production companies: Black Sand Pictures, Michael Mailer Films
Distributor: Orion Pictures
Cast: Brett Dalton, Stana Katic, Alessandra Mastronardi, Alessandro Preziosi, Emily Atack, Robert Aramayo, Marco Bonini
Director-screenwriter: Even Oppenheimer
Producers: Wendy Blackstone, Michael Mailer, Alessandro Penazzi, Edward Schmidt
Director of photography: Gherardo Gossi
Editor: Dean C. Marcial
Composer: Wendy Blackstone

97 minutes

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