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Salt of Life, The (12A)


Gianni, a recently retired house husband has many things to worry about but romance is not one of them.

He lives with his wife and daughter in a small apartment in Rome. His days slip by walking his and his gorgeous neighbour’s dogs, picking up cleaning and groceries, paying the bills under his wife’s strict instructions, and being taken for granted by his daughter and her lazy, unemployed boyfriend, who seems to have moved in.His ancient mother, the aristocratically coiffed Valeria, a relic from a more glamorous era, lives with her pretty careworker Cristina in a huge villa. Read more …

From her crumbling HQ, Valeria is swiftly draining Gianni’s resources on poker, repairs and expensive champagne, and thinks nothing of making him cross town to fix the reception on her television.

One morning, his good friend Alfonso tells an astonished Gianni about his most recent sexual escapades.

Somehow Gianni has completely failed to notice that his contemporaries are all taking a second bite of the cherry!

Even old Maurizio who always wears a tracksuit has a younger lover. Alfonso decides Gianni should take action, reinvigorate his life and get himself a girlfriend. But, despite his best efforts with some old female acquaintances interrupted by an endless stream of calls from his demanding mother and a dose of Viagra, poor old Gianni is like a rusty old motor. The spark is ignited but it is going to take a long time to get him back on the road to romance...

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The critical consensus

It may be on the slight side, but this is a poignant comedy, charming and melancholy.

***(*)(*)Philip Kemp, Total Film, 04/08/2011

It’s a film of great warmth and sincerity, a bittersweet comedy that consolidates Italian cinema’s recent revival.

****(*)Pasquale Iannone, The List, 09/08/2011

While it meanders rather than canters along, there is much to enjoy along the way, not least in the sun-washed Italian setting.

***(*)(*)Alison Rowat, The Herald, 11/08/2011

It doesn’t show a director evolving, just one happy to do what he does well.

****(*)Alan Mack, Little White Lies, 11/08/2011

It adds up to only a modest meal, but slips down very agreeably.

***(*)(*)The Telegraph, 11/08/2011

The froth on your breakfast cappuccino has more substance than this, though its aftertaste is pleasant enough.

**(*)(*)(*)Anthony Quinn, The Independent, 12/08/2011

It is a pleasure to be in [Di Gregorio's] humane company, his film is an adult experience, and the older you are the more adult it will appear.

Philip French, The Observer, 14/08/2011

Salt of Life, The (12A)photo by Antonio Carloni

Where and when?

General release. Check local listings for show times.

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