Il Postino

I’ve had this movie sitting in a red Netflix envelope on the table in my living room for most of a week. This evening, having been rained out of my jogging, I sat down with my dinner and watched it.

Il Postino (1994) is the dramatized story of the friendship between a postal carrier, played by the late Massimo Troisi, and the exiled Pablo Neruda, portrayed by the venerable Philippe Noiret—also known as Alfredo in Cinema Paradiso. The movie chronicles their friendship, sparked by the postman’s sudden interest in poetry and his consuming passion for local barmaid, Beatrice (played by Maria Grazia Cucinotta). The world-famous poet helps his Italian friend see the beauty of his island home and find “le metafore”, his metaphors.

The story is a lyrical tale of a budding friendship, an uneducated man’s passion for which he can’t find his own words, and a glimpse of life in a rural Italian village that, while lacking in modern conveniences and infrastructure, maintains a quaint timeless charm. The performances of all of the actors are sublime and absolutely believable, charming, and unforgettable. The backdrop, an Italian island off the coast of Campania, is perfect. The score, which won its composer the Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score (1995), is light and enhances the picture so completely that it would be impossible to imagine its absence. Of course, the poems of Pablo Neruda wander throughout the story, sometimes recited by the “poet” and sometimes read by the “postman”. For those who have read Neruda’s work before, this picture is certain to inspire a new hunger for his poetry. For those who haven’t, it’s almost impossible not to run to the library or the bookstore for a fresh-off-the-shelf volume.

My only regret in seeing this masterpiece is that I left it on that table for almost a week before I bothered to put it in the DVD player.

My grade: A.

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