Ginevra Elkann’s I Told You So is a star-studded romp through Rome amid an unprecedented heat wave that increasingly melts — and melds — the lives of a group of individuals, each on the brink of insanity.
I Told You So
Rome. Christmas has come and gone. It’s a January like any other… except for an unprecedented heat wave — an increasingly stark global reality — that has locals dripping and brought to the edge of sanity. Amid the bustling streets and piazzas, Gianna (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) is honing a decade-long obsession with her ex–best friend Pupa (Valeria Golino), an aging, bankrupt porn star from the ’80s desperately clutching to her golden days with cosmetic retouches and corny appearances.
Gianna depends (but mostly co-depends) on her sweet daughter Mila (Sofia Panizzi), who dotingly cares for a housebound older woman (Marisa Borini) — and is trapped in a cycle of bingeing and purging — as well as on her forthright priest, Father Bill (Danny Huston), a half-Italian, half-American former heroin addict, whose sister (Greta Scacchi) has arrived to the Italian capital to bury their estranged mother’s ashes according to very specific wishes.
The Father, too, is a true piece of work, though he remains a committed sponsor to Caterina (Alba Rohrwacher), an artist struggling with addiction, who recently lost custody of her young son to her heartbroken ex (Riccardo Scamarcio). With tensions condensing, each character’s worst fears and most glaring vices — be they sex, food, drugs, religion, or obsession — start to surface. And as the hysteria rises, everybody must find a way to cool down, or risk bursting. Shot in sunset tones that accentuate the thick air, this luxuriant sophomore film by writer-director Ginevra Elkann has at its beating heart the pulsing of these intertwined lives.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: simulated sexual content, nudity