The Wonders

112 minutes 2015

A prize winner at the Cannes film festival, this naturalistic Italian drama presents a warm and credible portrait of a modern beekeeping family in the Tuscan countryside. Twelve-year-old Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lungu in a soulful performance) keeps an eye on her three younger sisters even as she helps her unforgiving father, a German emigre, with the apiary duties. Various plot concerns—the parents' foster care of a tight-lipped boy, the girl's ongoing scheme to win a contest sponsored by a TV show—come and go without delivering much insight or emotion. Eventually the father buys a camel, which serves no dramatic function but, in this low-key exercise in bucolic sentiment, qualifies as a major event. Alice Rohrwacher directed her own script. In Italian with subtitles.

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