Hungry Hearts

***

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Hungry Hearts
"Costanzo’s script goes off the rails at the same time as his heroine."

Italian director Saverio Costanzo starts off well with this explosive tale of a husband and wife battling over the future of their newborn baby, all set against a New York City background.

But Costanzo (who made Private, In Memory Of Me and The Solitude Of Prime Numbers), loses the plot somewhere along the line in this English-language drama.

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Adam Driver plays the outgoing Jude while Alba Rohrwacher is the rather timid Mina, an increasingly neurotic vegan, who we first meet when she learns she is being transferred from her job in the Italian Embassy. She becomes pregant and the couple decide to marry and stay on in New York. Saverio concentrates on their early relationship with some success as well as the ramifications of the impending birth with Mina rushing to consult a psychic.

Mina’s behaviour after the birth becomes ever more erratic. She is obessed with germs and will barely go outside the Upper East Side appartment with her infant for fear of infection. It doesn’t help that she scarcely seems to feed him.

With shades of Rosemary’s Baby hovering in the background, Costanzo’s script goes off the rails at the same time as his heroine, who also has to contend with the overbearing presence of her husband’s mother (played by Roberta Maxwell) who wants to be friends with Mina, much to her son’s chagrin.

The scene is set for the young couple to be torn apart with their differing ideas on how to raise the baby, undermining the fabric of the marriage. Or is Mina just simply bonkers? Costanzo simply cannot seem to decide.

Claustrophobically shot to point up the bizarre behavioural twists and turns, the narrative exerts a weird fascination despite its implausibilities.

Reviewed on: 08 Apr 2015
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New York-set drama about a young couple who tear each other apart over the care of their child.

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