It is normally quite exciting if you don’t know where a film is going. In Tommaso however, that uncertainty is frustrating. Opening with its titular speaking to his therapist about his relationship issue, Tommaso appears to be following in the vein of a Woody Allen comedy, yet by the end it becomes a dark psychological portrait. Allen himself played with tone in a similar way with Match Point, but director-writer-star Kim Rossi Stuart is no Woody Allen.
After breaking up with his long-suffering girlfriend, career actor Tommaso (Stuart) believes he is free to pursue any woman he likes. It’s here that things start to go wrong for the film: it isn’t funny when it tries to be. Much of the attempted humour derives from Tommaso objectifying women and having his aspirations deflated. In a way it’s similar to the premise of Takeshi Kitano’s Getting Any?, but that film works because the main characters attempts to woo women result in public embarrassment. In comparison Tommaso’s humiliations are too private, which makes them feel real and far too muted.
The film gradually becomes darker, as signalled by the arrival of worms as a disturbing motif. It’s a tonal shift that comes across as confused rather than daring. The ultimate meaning is vague and it’s difficult to care due to Tommaso’s unlikeability as a character. Stuart’s performance is appropriately childish since his therapist visibly infantilises him. Yet, the character is so irredeemable that the film’s lasting lesson lands with little power, with the disappointment sealed by a trite and awful final scene.
In a possible moment of self-awareness, Tommaso (Stuart) confesses to his agent that the film script he has been writing is self-absorbed rubbish. Perhaps Stuart should have taken a harder look at that scene in his script before deciding to shoot.
CAST: Kim Rossi Stuart, Cristiana Capotondi, Camilla Diana, Jasmine Trinca
DIRECTOR: Kim Rossi Stuart
WRITER: Kim Rossi Stuart
SYNOPSIS: Tommaso has just left his first wife but he will meet a new person who will change everything in his life.