What separates the successful and the failures in life? The rich and the poor? Is it a question of hard work, talent, or just luck? Fortunata, the latest film from experienced actor Sergio Castellito, suggests that maybe it’s the latter.
The heroine of the title, played by Jasmine Trinca, certainly ticks the first two boxes, but still finds herself struggling for a better life. She works every hour of the day as a beautician, trying to save enough money for her own salon, all the while keeping a leash on her disruptive young daughter and staying as far away as possible from an abusive ex-husband.
Trinca owns every frame of this film, and there’s not much it offers beyond her dogged performance. She is passionate and formidable despite the obstacles that keep getting thrown in her way, fighting desperately to drag everyone around her to a better life.
The narrative around her is basically non-existent, mashing several storylines together with very little subtlety. Her villainous ex (Pesce) manipulates their daughter in some bizarre sub-soap opera blackmail, while Fortunata starts a brief affair with her daughter’s psychologist out of nowhere.
Such narrative lunges could be forgiven if the plot makes sense in the moment, but Mazzantini’s script leaves its characters feeling like caricatures. At least her writing is funny, delivering a few laugh-out-loud moments among the random histrionics.
The rest of the cast are certainly colourful, but they feel like the kind of “wacky” people who live their lives in a constant quest for eccentricity. Chicano (Borghi) is Fortunata’s business partner/unrequited love interest/young Jared Leto lookalike, who exists purely to brood on stairways; and his dementia-ridden actress mother (Schygulla) is played for laughs then peremptorily offed.
Turns out if you want to make a good film, luck’s got nothing to do with it.
CAST: Jasmine Trinca, Stefano Accorsi, Emanuela Aurizi, Alessandro Borghi
DIRECTOR: Sergio Castellitto
WRITER: Margaret Mazzantini
SYNOPSIS: The story of a young mother with a failed marriage behind her, who fights daily for her dream to open a hair salon, challenging her fate in an effort to free herself and gain independence and right to happiness.