Tea with Mussolini

views updated

Tea with Mussolini ★★ 1999 (PG)

Semiautobiographical account of director Zeffirelli's own childhood in fascist Italy. In 1935, young Luca (Lucas) is abandoned by his mother and his neglectful father is happy when the boy is taken in by a group of middleaged, eccentric Englishwomen, including Mary (Plowright), Lady Hester (Smith), and Arabella (Dench). Soon, their group is joined by flamboyantly wealthy (and Jewish) American Elsa (Cher). But as Mussolini consolidates his power and WWII begins, Luca is sent away to school, and the women find themselves unwelcome foreigners. 116m/C VHS, DVD . IT GB Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Cher, Baird Wallace, Charlie Lucas, Lily Tomlin, Paolo Seganti, Massimo Ghini, Claudio Spadaro; D: Franco Zeffirelli; W: Franco Zeffirelli, John Mortimer; C: David Watkin; M: Alessio Vlad, Stefano Arnaldi. British Acad. ‘99: Support. Actress (Smith).