Made in Italy is a 2020 comedy-drama starring Liam Neeson, Micheál Richardson, Valeria Bilello and Lindsay Duncan. The film was released in the United States in August 2020 and became available to watch in the UK on 26th March 2021, exclusively via Amazon Prime Video.
The story follows father and son duo Robert and Jack, as they head out to Italy and attempt to repair their old family villa, along with repairing their dysfunctional relationship. Through the course of the film, we learn that Jack’s mother and Robert’s wife died in a car crash and served as the catalyst for the pairs broken relationship.
Liam Neeson plays Robert, with Micheál Richardson playing his on-screen son Jack. Made in Italy is very much a family affair for the two lead actors, as Micheál Richardson is actually Liam Neeson’s real life son. The film rings even closer to home for Liam Neeson and Micheál Richardson when you consider that Natasha Richardson, their wife and mother respectively, passed away when Micheál was just 13 years old. There are some heart wrenching moments in the film where you can see the pure emotion from their off-screen pain transferring into the movie.
Liam Neeson is unsurprisingly great in the film with his character, Robert, being a much more laid back and unstable character than that of what we normally see of Liam Neeson in his big action movies. Jack played by Micheál Richardson is a character you can sympathize with, but that’s really the only standout thing I can say about the character. I don’t want to be too critical of Micheál Richardson because I thought he showed a lot of promise in the film, but it’s really tough to like his character as a result of cheesy, cliché screenwriting. The dynamic between the two main characters isn’t bad, but there is a lot left to be desired.
Likewise, I don’t want to be too critical of the supporting cast, but like Jack, the supporting characters are pretty bland. Valeria Bilello plays Natalia, Jack’s love interest and I was really impressed with her fluent English (apart from her rather alarming forced laughter). Whilst she doesn’t do a whole lot wrong, her character quickly becomes indistinctive, as do many of the other supporting characters.
One of the most distinctive things about Made in Italy is its beautiful setting of a rural Tuscany. The setting truly is breath-taking and makes a great case for adding Tuscany to your travel bucket-list, post lockdown! The local town which Robert and Jack visit is a picturesque little Italian village which is again another fine example of the film nailing the location and setting.
The house which Robert and Jack attempt to renovate is equally as gorgeous as its surrounding area is, it’s just a shame they don’t actually do much of the renovation themselves. Other than applying a fresh lick of paint, trimming a few overgrown bushes and a bit of general tidying, the pair don’t actually do much work! Instead they opt to bring in professionals and whilst this is understandable, I went into the film expecting a father and son, hands-on house flip.
Made in Italy isn’t a bad film, it just suffers from bland characters and a slog of a story. There are some sweet moments, particularly around family and grief, but for the most part there is just far too much fluff. It’s an easy watch, but Made in Italy leaves a lot to be desired.
Despite its beautiful setting, likeable leads and some genuinely heart-warming moments, Made in Italy is the victim of comedy clichés and bland characters, making it ultimately feel like a bit of a slog.
Made in Italy is currently available to watch on Prime Video in the UK. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Prime Video here – https://amzn.to/3uhgJ4q (as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases).