Watch Bellissima

  • NR
  • 1951
  • 1 hr 49 min
  • 7.7  (5,324)

Bellissima is a 1951 Italian film directed by Luchino Visconti and stars Anna Magnani, Walter Chiari, and Tina Apicella. The movie revolves around Maddalena Cecconi (played by Anna Magnani), a relentlessly ambitious mother in war-torn Rome who wants her young daughter, Maria (played by Tina Apicella), to become a movie star for a better life and give her family an opportunity for upward social mobility. Maddalena is willing to do anything to ensure her daughter's success, including lying and manipulating those around her.

The movie begins with Maddalena taking her daughter to an open casting call for a small role in a film. Seeing it as an opportunity for her daughter, Maddalena pulls all the strings to ensure Maria is selected. This sequence is extremely tense, with dozens of young girls auditioning for only a few spots, and Maddalena is showing emotional distress when her daughter is not picked. Eventually, Maria is given a small role, and Maddalena is ecstatic that her plan is working.

With her foot now in the door of the movie industry, Maddalena becomes obsessed with making her daughter famous. She frequently visits the studio, manipulating the producer and the director in the process to give bigger roles to Maria. Her obsession with her daughter's career quickly drives a wedge between her and her husband Spartaco (played by Mr. Chiari), who is concerned about his wife's erratic behavior and their financial situation.

Bellissima is a powerful critique of the movie industry's exploitative practices, as well as the dark side of ambition. Visconti uses the character of Maddalena to demonstrate the lengths to which people will go in their pursuit of fame and fortune. Her desperation and ruthlessness to get her daughter's foot in the door are shocking, and the audience can feel the tension as her situation grows increasingly unstable.

The film also touches on themes of class and social status. Maddalena sees the movie industry as a way to lift her family out of modest circumstances, and she is willing to do anything to achieve this dream. The movie industry is shown as corrupt and unethical, with a system that enables people like Maddalena to exploit her daughter's talents.

The movie delves into the process of filming and the casting process, and it is fascinating to see the behind-the-scenes workings of the Italian movie industry during the 1950s. The film industry is shown as a microcosm of Italian society, with all the social and economic hierarchies present within it. Bellissima offers a snapshot of a moment in Italy's cinematic history and a fascinating look into the social and cultural context of the country at the time.

Anna Magnani's performance as Maddalena is stunning, as she imbues the character with an intensity and desperation that are both uncomfortable and sympathetic. She portrays Maddalena as a woman who is willing to sacrifice everything for her daughter's success, trapped in a cycle of ambition and desperation that is ultimately destructive. Magnani is one of Italy's most celebrated actresses, and her performance in Bellissima is a testament to her skill and range as an actor.

The supporting cast is also brilliant, with Walter Chiari delivering a sensitive and nuanced performance as Maddalena's husband. The dynamic between Maddalena and Spartaco is a testament to the range of emotions that are explored in the film, from passionate love to bitterness, anger, and disappointment.

Bellissima is a beautifully crafted film that explores the complexities of the Italian film industry and the social and cultural context of Italy in the 1950s. It is a must-see for any cinema enthusiast, but it's also a fascinating window into a moment in Italian history and culture. The movie looks at the dark side of ambition and the sacrifices people will make to achieve their dreams. Visconti is a master filmmaker, and Bellissima is one of his finest works.

Bellissima is a 1951 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 49 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7.

Where to Watch Bellissima
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 49 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (5,324)