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Three Floors

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars
Three Floors
Photograph: Fandango, Sacher Film

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Italian veteran Nanni Moretti misses his usual standard with this thin melodrama stretched over too many people and events to make much impact

A chronicler of modern Rome via both comedy and tragedy, and often landing somewhere inbetween, Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti (The Son’s Room, We Have a Pope) hits a low with the middling melodrama Three Floors, which is likely to leave newcomers underwhelmed and fans of his work disappointed. It’s an ensemble piece, set over ten years, in which all the main characters are linked to one apartment building in the Italian capital. Three events in one short period in 2010 set off three stories involving four families which we follow over a decade, with five-year-intervals. You can imagine any of these tales – each of which touch on male recklessness or stubborness and female forbearance (to the point of simplicity) – being fleshed out and explored as solo films. But as strands they each feel thin, with neither the writing nor much of the acting nor the direction rising up to counter the lack of time spent with each character.

Adapted from an Israeli novel which was originally set in Tel Aviv, it's a film where events are many, but moments to reflect are sadly few. As it opens, drunk teenage driver Andrea (Alessandro Sperduti) runs over a woman in the street and crashes into the downstairs of the building where he lives with parents Dora (Margherita Buy) and Vittorio (Moretti himself), both of them judges; a young woman (Alba Rohrwacher, the most impressive of the cast), whose husband is almost always working away, goes into labour; and relations between professional couple Lucio (Riccardo Scamarcio) and Sara (Elena Lietti) and the elderly couple across the hall disintegrate when Lucio becomes suspicious that the old man, Renato (Paolo Graziosi), who is showing signs of dementia, is behaving inappropriately with his eight-year-old daughter – an accusation that seems as ludicrous to us as to everyone else.

This last situation goes from bad to catastrophic when Lucio ends up sleeping with Renato’s underage granddaughter, Charlotte (Denise Tantucci), and his behaviour results in prosecution and a trial that will form part of the film’s first update, five years later. This story strand, considering how delicate the issues at hand are, feels especially poorly-handled and only scratches the surface of the matter in a very glib way.

Very little about all this rings true at all. Both those two accusations of sex crimes feel uncomfortable in the cursory way in which they're explored, but then so many moments feel false and distant from anything resembling recognisable human behaviour. It’s all mildly involving, in a soapy way, and there are performances and moments to enjoy (and then to miss when they're under-developed), but thematically it’s muddy: you’re left with a hollow feeling that all the pain and recovery on display over this ten-year-period amounts to little in the way of ideas.

Dave Calhoun
Written by
Dave Calhoun

Cast and crew

  • Director:Nanni Moretti
  • Screenwriter:Nanni Moretti, Valia Santella, Federica Pontremoli
  • Cast:
    • Riccardo Scamarcio
    • Alba Rohrwacher
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