A professor finds out that a teenager that he tutors is his son.
There are movies that people tend to distrust, because of a series of cliches that appear in them. Let’s consider Easy, the debut movie of the screen writer Francesco Bruni (that made a career in the cinema industry with Paolo Virzì and thanks to tv series, like Comissario Montalbano). In this quick and brilliant comedy we find a middle-aged professor, a dynamic but rude teenager, a nice former pornstar, a boss that likes culture and arthouse cinemas, two invasive but affable baristas and even a sarcastic and smart janitor. And then there is the typical teenager slang, a school where everyone does everything but studying, teachers with good intentions but also frustrations, mistakes but also good feelings…
Not only the characters, the first scenes too will seem to you like you’ve already seen this movie countless of times: Bruno, a professor that left his job, is torn between passionless tutoring and being a ghost writer for b-rated books (the last of which is an autobiography of a former pornstar). He is a 50 year old man with a life crisis that comes from veneto but lives in Rome, and for this reason feels like a foreigner, but keeps on living. We are left feeling perplexed when we find out that 16 years ago in a passion-filled, but quickly forgotten, night he conceived a son with a girl that later disappeared from his life. We’re left feeling perplexed because it all seems really unrealistic.
The protagonist Fabrizio Bentivoglio is formidable in his role as Bruno, who fearlessly starts this relationship with a teenager, who’s already an unenthusiastic student that he tutors, that would rather cause trouble in school instead of studying and that doesn’t know he has a father. When his mother leaves for 6 months and entrusts Luca, her son, to his father, one could suspect that the secret will soon reemerge… and that the middle-aged depressed and demoralised man will find his new strength in this full of life teen and vice versa.
However, all the events on the screen start to take a more convincing turn. Evidently because of a major skill in writing (that is Bruni’s forte) but also because of a sure direction, that is clean but never flat, that can vary tones and rhythms, that can stop when possible and speed up when needed. And because of the direction of the characters: where Bentivoglio is well known and Barbora Bobulova has acted amazingly in her last few films, no one could’ve guessed that Filippo Scicchitano could give such an outstanding performance. One could say that Bruni took close notice of his friend Virzì’s sets.
This work is funny and brilliant, not perfect but amusing; for example when the differences between the two main characters (e.g. the linguistic ones) become evident during their cohabitation. The main characteristic of the movie is the reveal of the true but never imagined desires: fatherhood for Bruno, a father for Luca. True desire for true characters that you get attached to, that aren’t just “well written”.
These are told but not sweetened up stories: the man seems always on the pint of collapsing, the boy ready to blow up or commit errors. And when he does commit one, a seemingly minor character changes the whole direction of the movie.
A young and arrogant boss (played by the excellent Vinicio Marchioni) that loves the culture studied in school. An education that seemed only like a habit, but that threw his seeds on a less arid than expected ground, and that at the right moment will surprisingly show its beneficial results.
Antonio Autieri (Translation: Benedetta Volpe)