Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
Two institutionalised women help themselves to a break from psychiatric care in this disarming blend of comedy, social observation and tender psychological drama. The latest film from Italy’s Paolo Virzì (Human Capital, NZIFF14), Like Crazy was one of the brightest surprises at Cannes this year.
At Villa Biondi, a congenial Tuscan retreat for women in recovery, the aristocratic Beatrice (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) queens it over staff and fellow patients alike. A voracious snoop and fantasist of the first order, she’s the most outrageously quick-witted liar any of them have ever met. When newcomer Donatella (Micaela Ramazzotti) is admitted to the Villa, she’s in a pitiful state. Beatrice makes the wretched Donatella her project. She love-bombs the younger woman, dragging her out on a rather classy crime spree, assuming perhaps that her own fabulous self-entitlement will prove inspiring. Over the course of several crazy days they pay calls on some of the key contributors to their current plights. What we learn along the way fleshes out movingly realistic pictures of them both. A great script, two bewitching performances and a superb supporting cast earn our tears and our laughter in equal measure.
“A terrific comedy-drama about two women in a mental institution that avoids the pitfalls such a scenario could encounter… Boasting a deliriously loquacious script together with a rare understanding of how to balance certain Italian caricatures with a grounding sense of realism… Neither Valeria Bruni Tedeschi nor Micaela Ramazzotti have been better.” — Jay Weissberg, Variety