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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.
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Netflix Rating: 3.7
Rotten Tomatoes® Scores
55%  
85%
 
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

See all Malèna Reviews

 
[Tornatore] eludes sentimentality with a romantic vision wide enough to embrace the range of human experience.
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle  full review
 
Bereft of the more richly textured sentiments of Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso.
Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine  full review
 
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.
David Rooney, Variety  full review
 
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.
James Berardinelli, ReelViews  full review
 
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.
Houston Chronicle, Houston Chronicle  full review
 
[Bellucci] has presence, maybe even talent, but you wish that Malena's inner life had been given as much accent as her outer charms.
Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly  full review
 
Funny as it is sobering.
Susan Stark, Detroit News  full review
 
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.
Steven Rosen, Denver Post  full review
 
Like Malena herself, the movie ends up nothing more than a great-looking mess.
Paul Tatara, CNN.com  full review
 
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.
Jane Sumner, Dallas Morning News  full review
 
Makes something wistful, enduring and even optimistic out of humanity's basest instincts.
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution  full review
 
Not for decades has Italian film offered a presence so sexy and mythic as Bellucci.
Boston Globe, Boston Globe
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