The Best Man

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • PG
  • Comedy, Drama, Romance

Pupi Avati's opulent tale of Northern Italian mores and marriage on the eve of the 20th century is so full of wonderful details that you can't help but wish the central story weren't such a washout. On the morning of Dec. 31, 1899, Francesca Babini (Ines Sastre) reluctantly prepares to marry the wealthy but ever-so-creepy Edgardo Osti (Dario Cantarelli),...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Pupi Avati's opulent tale of Northern Italian mores and marriage on the eve of the 20th century is so full of wonderful details that you can't help but wish the central story weren't such a washout. On the morning of Dec. 31, 1899, Francesca Babini (Ines

Sastre) reluctantly prepares to marry the wealthy but ever-so-creepy Edgardo Osti (Dario Cantarelli), not out of love, but to save her family from certain financial ruin. After she's literally dragged to the altar, Francesca spots Edgardo's best man, Angelo (Deigo Abatantuono), a former menial

laborer for Edgardo's family who's just returned from America, where it's rumored he amassed a fortune. If Francesca is powerless to change the reality of her marriage, she figures that in her mind, at least, she can marry whomever she likes, and the handsome stranger will do just fine. But

trouble ensues once the vows are exchanged -- Edgardo pledges himself to Francesca; Francesca to Angelo -- and Edgardo, expecting what every newly wedded man expects from his bride, discovers he's not his wife's husband after all. It's a silly premise, but an ideal one through which to explore the

unhappy situation in which young, marriageable women of earlier generations often found themselves, and the way that one desperate woman might have chosen to deal with her miserable fate. But that's not what this movie is about. After a very promising first half, it's ultimately about little more

than amore at first sight. Still, Avati (whose credits include REVENGE OF THE DEAD and the considerably less gruesome STORY OF BOYS AND GIRLS) has developed a gorgeous visual style a bit like Visconti's -- rich in color and ornamentation without ever being gauche or prettified -- and

captures all the excitement and trepidation of a world on the brink of a brand new century.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Pupi Avati's opulent tale of Northern Italian mores and marriage on the eve of the 20th century is so full of wonderful details that you can't help but wish the central story weren't such a washout. On the morning of Dec. 31, 1899, Francesca Babini (Ines… (more)

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