When it comes to receiving closure from a film, I am a big fan. Maybe its why the Coen Brothers and I have such a love/hate relationship? I don’t know how he did it, but Ciro D'Emilio finished ‘If Life Gives You Lemons’ without any closure at all - and yet, I didn’t mind.
I totally lied. I do know how he did it - by giving us, the audience, a lens into reality. That’s what making films is all about. Movies are accountable for storytelling and as such, they are gateways, portals, to the things we are uneducated about. It was refreshing to watch a narrative unfold in a foreign language, in a different country and about a lifestyle I know nothing of. I was entertained, moved, challenged and charmed by a story told with sensitivity, pace and realism.
The film follows the story of Antonio (Giampiero De Concilio) who navigates his life of being a soccer player, working and dealing with his mentally troubled mother (Anna Foglietta). The two actors work exceptionally well together, conveying an authentic and fragile relationship. The film, as the title suggests, is an exploration of how we deal the cards life has dealt us.
The story in itself is quite morbid, although D'Emilio accounts for this by adding in subtle moments of humour and charm. In this way, small moments of breath are offered to us as we digest the film. This isn’t your average pop it on on a Friday night and zone out film. It requires you to think and be present. The film makes an assertion about circumstances, luck, determination and grit - whilst also advocating kindness.
Strap in - it’s not necessarily your fun-loving film favourite, but it is a real and raw coming of age story
The film doesn’t do well to land some open-ended stories at its conclusion - with questions of the girlfriend, his football career and future left unanswered. But as I said at the beginning, I don’t think this does an injustice to the film. We are offered closure to the story that demanded it most within the narrative, and that's what counts. If you want to watch an interesting filmic portrayal of life, choices and relationships - this is your film. Strap in - it’s not necessarily your fun-loving film favourite, but it is a real and raw coming of age story.