125 Min | Comedy – Romance | July 2007
IMDB Rating: 5.9
Director: Giovanni Veronesi
Starring: Monica Bellucci, Robert De Niro, Riccardo Scamarcio
Manuale d’am3re Review: In Manuale d’am3re, a young lawyer is sent out to buy a family estate for a corporation and runs into a beautiful and wild girl who shakes his engagement and world. He tells the family not to take the money and reconciles with his fiancee. An established Italian news anchorman is vexatiously seduced by a voluptuous woman who turns out to be a psychopathic stalker who apparently lets him impregnate her. His wife and daughter find out and walk out on him, while his seductress is institutionalized but lets him have the videotape she made of their sex sessions, apparently loving him. He is reassigned to Africa and leaves her there, and we later see him being Danteanly brutalized in his destination by thugs.
Giving us older guys hope, De Niro plays a heart transplant Italian American history prof whose lecherous landlord quickly becomes re-estranged from his voluptuously beautiful daughter (Monica Belucci no less), when he is scandalized to discover she has been a strip teaser and pole dancer in Paris and our prof gives her shelter. (Is there any male on Planet Earth who *wouldn’t* give Monica Belucci shelter?) Mercifully, some of De Niro’s soliloquies are in English. Manuale d’am3re does not reflect well on Italian men, who are portrayed as being neurotically weak – lots of extraneous gesturing – and run by their women except for De Niro, of course. Some of the scenes are funny, some are hot with beautiful Italian women in various stages of undress and it amused me but not enough to watch it again anytime soon.
Manuale d’am3re’s climax is triumphant with Monica Belucci and De Niro having faith in themselves, each other, and life to have a baby boy regardless of obstacles – and I am very glad Monica has herself had two daughters, beautiful and intelligent women should indeed be reproduced. If she has a sister or niece who needs shelter. But without Monica Belucci. Even then, I wish she had proudly and shamelessly displayed more of her heart-stopping beauty, and the appreciation of such healthy feminine beauty is a national trait to the credit of all Italians and some of the rest of us.