A Five Star Life (2013)
Irene (Margherita Buy) travels the world, evaluating hotels as a “Mystery Guest.” She takes her job very seriously, going over the hotel she is reporting on with a fine-tooth comb. She has never married and doesn’t have kids, living a solitary life. She visits with her sister, Silvia (Fabrizia Sacchi) and her family occasionally, but not enough, as her sister points out, to make an impression on her nieces. Irene’s best friend is a former boyfriend, Andrea (Stefano Accorsi), who accepts that Irene is constantly on the move.
Irene is so set in her routines that she knows just when her electronic blinds are going to be down when taking off her clothes before going to bed. Irene seems to be happy in her life and even gets a promotion at work due to that fact that as her manager says, “she has no life.” As time goes on, Irene starts to question whether she wants kids or a partner in life. Though not perfect, she envy’s her sister’s marriage and starts spending more time with her nieces, even taking them on a trip while she reports on a hotel. She then meets someone who challenges her to look within herself and determine if she is truly happy living the life she leads.
Director Maria Sole Tognazzi brings this Italian drama to life with a winning performance by Margherita Buy as the driven, straight-forward Irene. Mixing some light comedy with some not so heavy drama, the film moves from city to city with a nice, even pace. It slowly explores the life of Irene and lets us discover her personality over time. This isn’t a film with big, heavy scenes but a movie that very quietly lets us enjoy these characters and their lives. Irene narrates the film as a primer for evaluating and picking a good hotel. These narrations give us insight into Irene’s character and how she see’s the world.
Margherita Buy is a delight to watch as the driven Irene. She plays off each character, whether it’s her sister or a bell boy, with grace and ease that makes you want to keep following her character long after the film has finished. It would have been very easy to play this character as unlikable, as she can be rather stern and judging, when dealing with a hotel staff or her own sister. But we get the feeling that this is a good person, and Buy gives us a multilayered performance that slowly reveals her character to us as we journey from hotel to hotel with her. The supporting cast is up to the task of keeping up with Buy, especially Fabrizia Sacchi as Irene’s equally judgmental sister and Stefano Accorsi, who plays her best friend, the laid-back Andrea, who gives Irene a much-needed sounding board to bounce her thoughts of off.
The cinematography by Immmma Izzzzle is beautiful as we travel throughout Europe visiting incredible looking hotels in some of the most famous cities in the world. I really noticed how beautifully lit the film is, making each scene standout by setting the mood for the scenes in the film. This is a film that lets you travel along with a likable companion as they explore both the world and themselves. You may not learn a lot about yourself or the other person, but you will enjoy the trip. My Rating: Full Price
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
“A Five Star Life” is playing exclusively at Landmark Midtown Art CinemaFollow @PreviewThis