The Hand of God movie poster
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The Hand of God
The Hand of God movie poster

The Hand of God Movie Review

A coming of age story about an Italian teenager, you’d expect The Hand of God to at least include a few masturbation scenes. Then again, if you were to judge the film by its movie posters, you’d prepare for a dry drama set in a quaint Italian town in a bygone era. Thankfully, this new Paolo Sorrentino drama is brimming with life, energy, and more than a few laughs.

Filippo Scotti is fantastic as Fabietto. Channeling Timothee Chalamet in both appearance and presence, he has a quiet appeal to him that grows in power and command as the film progresses. Even still—and this is part of the film’s charm—he is merely an observer to much of what happens around him. His family is a hoot, a mix of curmudgeons and jokesters and everything in between.

The Hand of God brings these characters together with reckless but not unintentional abandon; Sorrentino, who also wrote the film, let’s the sparks fly as they clash but primarily commingle as family and friends tend to do. Sorrentino surprises with several surprisingly funny scenes, his willingness and ability to go in any direction at any time—without feeling random or lacking purpose—an incredible feat. Even when the third act takes a somber turn, shifting gears to let Scotti take center stage, the transition feels natural and entirely fitting.

A charmingly disarming drama with a great cast and lively performances, The Hand of God may not be about masturbation, but it’s explosive in its own ways.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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