Unemployment Takes Toll on Marriage in Dysfunctional Family Drama
When Michele (Antonio Albanese) was fired from the company he had built into a very successful enterprise, he was too embarrassed about having been stabbed in the back by his co-founder to tell his pampered wife, Elsa (Margherita Buy), or their 20 year-old daughter, Alice (Alba Rohrwacher). Wallowing in a state of denial, he allowed them to continue enjoying the lavish lifestyle to which they had become quite accustomed over the years.
But after behaving like an ostrich for a couple of months, the bills began to mount and it was only a matter of time before Michele would have to pull his had out of the proverbial sand. He finally ‘fesses up to Elsa about the family’s dire economic straits the morning after throwing her an expensive, surprise birthday party.
This development is particularly upsetting to her because she had recently gone back to college to pursue her love of art history. And now, unfortunately, she’ll have to drop out of school prior to completing her degree. Worse, when she tries to find employment, the only gig she can find is working as a telemarketer at a call center.
In the interim, Michele becomes frustrated by his own job search after not being able to land a high-paying professional position. He settles for odd-jobs like delivering messages and hanging wallpaper only to end up depressed by this sorry state of affairs.
Then, he quits even these minimum-wage, make-do positions and stops looking entirely, Elsa becomes emotionally distant and loses respect for her husband over his failure as a provider.
Next, she starts coming home late in order to entertain the advances of her solicitous boss after hours. Eventually, Michele gets the message, moves out of the house and is humbled when he has to crash on the couch of his daughter and her ne’er-do-well boyfriend (Fabio Troiano).
“Can this marriage be saved?” is the timely theme explored by Days & Clouds, a compelling, dysfunctional family drama from Italy by Silvio Soldini (Bread and Tulips). Plausibly-scripted and well-acted, the telling tale proves to be decidedly universal, given the world economy’s currently teetering on the brink of a widespread recession. Undoubtedly, plenty of previously comfortable middle-aged middle-managers must be struggling with the same sort of marital and money issues in the wake of the toll taken on that beleaguered demographic by downsizing and globalization.
Dude, where’s my wife and job?
Excellent (4 stars)
In Italian with subtitles.
Running time: 115 minutes
Studio: Film Movement
See a trailer of Days & Clouds,