My Brother Is an Only Child | Chicago Reader

My Brother Is an Only Child

With stereotypical but endearing Italian hair-trigger emotionalism, director Daniele Luchetti adapts Antonio Pennacchi's novel about a provincial lad who reacts like a volcano to his family's lower-class prejudices and the communist upheavals of the 60s. This 2007 feature is a peppery pleasure thanks to Luchetti's unwillingness to take any of the car-burning political persuasions seriously and to his cast's reckless tempers and quick comic rhythms. (The hero is played by two pugnacious young actors, both terrific, and the role changes hands from tween to teen almost imperceptibly, amid a family brawl.) The rough-and-tumble tone is bitterly entertaining but in the end doesn't contribute to a convincing historical portrait, and a pileup of half-baked resolutions spoils the buzz. In Italian with subtitles.

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