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If The Hand of God was supposed to be a very personal film for director Paolo Sorrentino, you never feel it.

Once again nodding and winking to his great idol Federico Fellini, In The Hand of God Paolo Sorrentino mixes autobiographical elements of his eighties upbringing in Naples with larger than life anecdotes verging on the fantastical and some erotic imagery thrown in for good measure.

But those hoping for a poetic, idiosyncratic coming-of-age tale will be disappointed by the picture. The Hand of God does contain some inspired small touches - in what other movie would you see a wife lamenting her husband's infidelity by juggling oranges? - but it lacks a compelling overall story arc, while in the movie's final act Sorrentino becomes unapologetically self-indulgent.

If The Hand of God was supposed to be a very personal film for the director, you never feel it, as the characters either remain cyphers or are too broadly drawn to register as anything else than lazy caricatures. So unless the nice cinematography and production design totally win you over, odds are you will be pretty underwhelmed by The Hand of God.

release: 2021

director: Paolo Sorrentino

starring: Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo, Marion Joubert


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