Bellissima

Italian Neorealism | Italian with English subtitles | 115 minutes

Info

Maddalena is an overbearing, working-class mother in Rome. She once tried to be a movie star but failed. She now tries to live vicariously through her daughter, Maria. Maria has zero talent, but Maddalena will not hear any negative talk. Maddalena drags  Maria to an audition.  Maria is rejected and  Maddalena goes ballistic. She  yells at the studio execs until they relent and give Maria a back-office job. But in time, Maddalena faces reality:  her no-talent Maria will not become a movie star. She returns to her husband where he has been patiently waiting for his wife to get these dreams out of her system.

Cast
Anna Magnani (Maddalena) / Tina Apicella (Maria)
Why Stream This Film?

 It’s always upsetting to see that ruthless and obsessed mother pushing her son or daughter to become an acting star. But when this kind of mother is played by someone like Anna Magnani, we just enjoy sitting back and marveling at this ultimate actress giving such a memorable performance.

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 80%
Accolades
  • Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists: Winner, Best Actress Anna Magnani
Perhaps the most unjustly and neglected of Luchino Visconti’s early films is this hilarious comedy.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Chicago Reader

It is quite in order to find Anna Magnani, the reigning queen of the burgeoning Roman film colony, in BELLISSIMA. It justifiably serves as a tour de force for its magnetic star.
A.W.

The New York Times

A great introduction to the work of Anna Magnani and Italian neorealist director Luchino Visconti.
James Plath

Movie Metropolis

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