The First Beautiful Thing | Chicago Reader

The First Beautiful Thing

The protagonist of this 2010 Italian drama is a failed writer whose depression and fear of intimacy escalate after he's called back to his hometown to care for his dying mother. Skipping back and forth over three decades, writer-director Paolo Virzi charts the conflicted relationship between the son and the mother, whose high-spirited, somewhat flaky behavior—including marital infidelity and a string of reckless romances—caused great emotional turbulence for her two young children. Virzi deftly handles the nonlinear narrative, which alternates her sometimes hilarious escapades with sobering insights into how they affected her beloved bambini. In Italian with subtitles.



  • Paolo Virzi


  • Valerio Mastandrea
  • Micaela Ramazzotti
  • Claudia Pandolfi
  • Stefania Sandrelli
  • Dario Ballantini
  • Marco Messeri
  • Fabrizia Sacchi
  • Sergio Albelli
  • Emanuele Barresi
  • Roberto Rondelli
  • Aurora Frasca
  • Giacomo Bibbiani


  • Gabriele Muccino
  • Marco Cohen
  • Fabrizio Donvito
  • Benedetto Habib

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