MADE IN ITALY – Review by Lana Wilson-Combs

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Liam Neeson, best known as the tough guy with the “special set of skills” in actioners like Taken, Run All Night and Non-Stop, shows a softer and more compassionate side in his latest movie Made in Italy.

Directed and written by actor James D’Arcy (Avengers: Endgame and Dunkirk), Made in Italy is a slow moving, yet gripping drama set in beautiful Tuscany, Italy.

Neeson plays a well-known London artist named Robert who tries to reconnect with his estranged 25-year-old son Jack (Neeson’s real-life son, Michael Richardson, TV’s Big Dogs).

A family tragedy has left them miserable and they haven’t spoken to each other since Jack was a kid.

Now, Jack is forced to reach out to his father when Jack’s wife Raffaella (Helena Antonio, Sunburn) tells him that not only is she selling the British art gallery he’s been managing so well, but that she’s also ready to finalize their divorce.

She gives Jack one month to come up with his portion of the money. Jack and his dad own the family house in Tuscany and Robert had been planning to sell it. When they return to their old stomping ground, Jack is stunned to see that the house he grew up in and had so many wonderful memories, is completely rundown. He’s mad that his father just let the place go.

They’ll need the Property Brothers, Chip and Joanna Gaines and a whole lot of divine intervention before they can get this place on the market and turn-key ready. The clock is ticking.

Despite its appearance, the house still has plenty of character according their local real estate agent Kate (Lindsay Duncan, Gifted). Plus, it’s all about location and Tuscany is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Then again, Kate might say anything just to get in good and next to Robert. She really does give them some sound advice about the place and before long some local handymen who have admired the house for years jump in and help with the renovations.

Meanwhile, Jack’s anger toward his father subsides a bit when he meets restaurant owner and chef Natalia (Valeria Bilello, TV’s Curon). Although Natalia proves to be a calming force for Jack, she also has a young daughter and her husband is still in the picture which leaves Jack in limbo again.

As Jack and Robert work to paint and restore the house, they slowly begin to honestly and tearfully opens up and talk about the pain and anguish that has consumed them for so many years. It helps and begins to mend their relationship.

Made in Italy is a thoughtful father and son movie. It’s good to see Neeson step away from all the wild, action stuff. Fans don’t need to worry though. Neeson will be back to his old ways busting things up again in his upcoming movie Honest Thief. Until then, Made in Italy is a nice departure.

Made in Italy is available on VOD starting Aug. 7.

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Lana Wilson-Combs

Lana Wilson-Combs has more than 20 years experience as a journalist. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor's of Arts Degree in Radio/Television, but began her career as a sports writer in the Bay Area at the Oakland Post newspaper before becoming a movie critic and entertainment writer. She is the founder of and on-air movie critic for KFBK Radio Station in Sacramento, California where she currently resides.