Things that draw people to a specific film can vary from large elements to the smallest ones. For me, Vanessa Kirby was the draw for Adam Leon’s “Italian Studies”. Kirby is a fantastic actor. She can capture character layering with ease, and despite her eloquent delivery of dialogue, it’s her eyes, expressions, and mannerisms that can often tell so much more than simple words. So naturally, with Kirby in the lead I was curious.
Here Kirby plays a writer living in Manhattan that loses her memory. We don’t know why, and from there she wanders in a sense that it is both aimless and subtly guided throughout the entirety of the runtime. She claims to be writing a book centering on teen life, so she hangs out with random teenagers. This fills the film with meaningless talking head segments that seem to try and give the impression of being poignant, yet really go nowhere. Which was the overall problem I had with this movie; it goes nowhere. The conversations ultimately mean very little.
The first act poses thought and curiosity as to what is happening and honestly it is enough to create some investment in where things would go. Manhattan is always a visually striking backdrop for a story and admittedly during certain sequences as Kirby feels the chaos of the city consuming her are actually thought provoking. However, more so about life itself, and your own notions of moving to a big city alone to achieve your dreams. Nothing interesting that actually has anything to do with the direction this plot was attempting to go.
Primarily because it never feels like this plot is truly going anywhere. “Italian Studies” clocks in at just about 80 minutes with the end credits, and honestly it feels three times as long. The opening act builds some intrigue. The middle act teases something at play. Some sort of meaning. So even halfway through this movie, despite it only feeling like it had made minuscule advancements, I was curious as to how this story would bring things back around in the closing. But it doesn’t. It ends just as nondescript as it began, and as the credits rolled, I found myself sitting there wondering what the point of it all was.
“Italian Studies” feels like a dream. Not a good dream, but a typical one filled with a fog of random events that feel similar but never connect. There could possibly be some deep seeded meaning to this one that I missed. But even the talented Vanessa Kirby isn’t enough to keep this film from feeling like a string of incoherent events shot with an arthouse style in an attempt to keep the mundane from feeling…mundane.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.