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lMovie Review
"Malena"
By Mira Harber
    Malena (Monica Belluci) was just too gorgeous for her own good. She didn't know how to kow-tow to the women of the village, and the men couldn't resist her voluptuous beauty. As she walked to and from her home running, or should I say swaying, on a variety of errands each clingy dress she wears shows off her bodacious assets Hey, I didn't write it, I just saw it.
   Malena is a coming of age story about a 14-year-old boy living in a small town in war-torn Sicily, in 1942. It's a less kind, less sweet, meaner Italian version of Summer of '42.
    At the film's start Malena's husband goes to war and leaves luscious young woman at home alone to await his return. Here's where the trouble starts. As she waits, more and more of the townsmen find her irrestible. At the same time, their wives find her more and more detestable. Eventually she is widowed, and descends into poverty and misfortune.
    Although every man in town lusts after Malena, the only one who really understands her is the love struck 14-year-old, Renato Amaroso (Giuseppe Sulfaro). He secretly follows her everywhere on his bicycle and we see most of this through his pubescent eyes. He steals her underwear, buys a record of sappy music that she likes - he is in love with love. Malena is the yardstick by which he will measure all women.
    I thought that it was average at best, once you get beyond the sepia-toned prettiness of it.
    Ms. Belluci is certainly a babe, and she's made up to look just like a young Ava Gardiner. As she descends into the depths of degradation, we're never really given a chance to see inside the woman, to feel or understand her emotions and actions. The only time we ever see her smile is at a Nazi officer.
    If you want to see some gorgeous photography of a small, Sicilian seaside town, a fair bit of the luscious Miss Belluci in various states of undress, and aren't too interested in a fully fleshed-out, honest story, then this is the film for you.

 
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