'So Far So Good': Film Review

Courtesy of Sally Fischer PR
These are characters you'll enjoy hanging out with

Roan Johnson's Italian comedy concerns five university graduates facing important life decisions.

Five friends sharing a house find themselves at a crossroads upon their graduation from the University of Pisa in Roan Johnson's Italian comedy that won multiple awards at the Rome International Film Festival. Recently given its U.S. premiere at Lincoln Center's Open Roads: New Italian Cinema, So Far So Good (Fina a qui tutto bene) is a touching and amusing portrait of young people facing important life choices.

So close to each other that they even take communal showers, the five engage in the sort of spirited banter and mutual teasing that fail to mask their obvious affection for each other. The slight storyline includes such personal crises as the free-spirited Ilaria (Silvia D'Amico) discovering that she's pregnant by a married man and the studious Vincenzo (Alessio Vassalo) deciding to accept a job in Iceland, which causes no small consternation on the part of his girlfriend, Francesca (Melissa Bartolini).

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The screenplay co-written by the director and Ottavia Madeddu, which was inspired by interviews with actual students for for a prospective documentary, occasionally goes overboard in its broad humor, such as when Ilaria vandalizes her lover's car and then, accompanied by her reluctant friends, breaks into his house seeking compensation for his refusal to support her decision to have their baby. Far better is the droll comedic scene in which she tells her old-fashioned parents via Skype that she's pregnant, claiming that the father has just been killed in an automobile accident.

But it's in the smaller, quieter moments that the film shines, beautifully illustrating the confusion, anticipation and dread that the characters feel when faced with uncertain futures. The camaraderie among the group feels unforced and real, with the talented young performers playing off each other in such naturalistic fashion that their dialogue seems wholly improvised.

The film sometimes feels unfocused and directionless, but that perfectly suits the characters' own confusion. The ending, in which all of them are seen paddling around aimlessly in a motorboat that's lost its power, is a wonderfully poetic visual metaphor.

Cast: Alessio Vassallo, Paolo Cioni, Silvia D'Amico, Guglielmo Favilla, Melisa Bartolini, Isabella Ragonese
Director: Roan Johnson
Screenwriters: Roan Johnson, Ottavia Madeddu
Executive producer: Fulvia D'Ottavi
Director of photography: Davide Manca
Production designer/costume designer: Rincen Caravacci
Editors: Paolo Landolfi, Davide Vizzini
Composer: I Gatti Mezzi
Casting: Marco Tetti

No rating, 80 minutes