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Malèna

When 12-year-old Renato (Giuseppe Sulfaro) catches a glimpse of beautiful new bride Malèna (Monica Bellucci), his heart skips a beat. But when jealous town busybodies begin spreading vile rumors about her, Renato must incorporate those falsehoods with what he knows to be true. Writer-director Giuseppe Tornatore helms this coming-of-age story -- set in Sicily during World War II -- which exposes the effect waggish gossip can have.
HD Available
Netflix Rating: 3.7
Rotten Tomatoes: Rotten 55%
Critics' score: 55   Audience score: 85   Rotten Tomatoes page
Top Rotten Tomatoes Critics

Flushed with emotion and a buoyant earthy humor, Malena is a yarn that sticks with you. full review

Stephen Holden, New York Times

[Tornatore] eludes sentimentality with a romantic vision wide enough to embrace the range of human experience. full review

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Bereft of the more richly textured sentiments of Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso. full review

Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine

Despite Bellucci's strong presence in a role with little dialogue, the central character never really comes alive in any way interesting enough to give her ordeal much genuine pathos. full review

David Rooney, Variety

Like so many movies these days, Malena is a jumble of ideas from earlier films. full review

Joe Baltake, Sacramento Bee

Its heart is in the right place.

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel

Transparently misogynist at its core.

Kevin Maynard, Mr. Showbiz

An affecting coming-of-age story. full review

James Berardinelli, ReelViews

The result is like a bad novel in which the personalities and feelings of the characters are described to us rather than revealed through what they do. full review

Houston Chronicle, Houston Chronicle

Not for decades has Italian film offered a presence so sexy and mythic as Bellucci.

Boston Globe, Boston Globe

Funny as it is sobering. full review

Susan Stark, Detroit News

The film lacks a focused, compelling narrative -- perhaps because Tornatore is trying to manufacture a hit by juggling story elements more forced and manipulative than felt. full review

Steven Rosen, Denver Post

Like Malena herself, the movie ends up nothing more than a great-looking mess. full review

Paul Tatara, CNN.com

Renato does not intervene to correct the false impressions of the townspeople, nor does he courageously stand for Malena ... What happens instead is far more compelling, but no less merciful and moving.

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer

Any moral lesson the film pretends to hold is as muddled as it is misguided.

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press

A well-crafted, provocative film by one of Italy's consummate screen artists. full review

Jane Sumner, Dallas Morning News

Makes something wistful, enduring and even optimistic out of humanity's basest instincts. full review

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

[Bellucci] has presence, maybe even talent, but you wish that Malena's inner life had been given as much accent as her outer charms. full review

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
full review by Globe and Mail, Globe and Mail
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