Umberto D. (1952) Review

Although I have to say that this was indeed a good movie, I can’t say that I would ever find myself watching it a second time. To me, it was good in the sense that it is a perfect example of Italian neo-realism and does an excellent job of exemplifying human loneliness through facial expressions and gestures. This coupled with the whole poor/working class setting makes for something that is so hard to look at, you can’t look away. I would be lying however, if I said I wasn’t dozing off at various times throughout the movie.

Not only was this movie slow, but it was extremely sad. And not just in terms of Umberto’s situation, but in the blow to his pride he must endure by begging. It just hurts. Despite the fact that when watching an Italian neorealism film, one must expect to see hardship and sadness, it doesn’t making watching it any easier. However, on another note, the fact that Carlo Battisiti was a completely unprofessional actor was amazing given his performance. As much as I disliked watching the movie, his performance was a fantastic one.

You’re probably wondering why I’m reviewing a film that pained me to sit through it. Maybe you’re not wondering that at all. Maybe you’re eating a sandwich. In any case, I figure that you can’t just write about movies that made you scream and giggle like a baby gorilla. You have to write about movies that sadden you and make you reflect on your life and that make you glad you have what you have and aren’t living in post-war Italy.

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3 thoughts on “Umberto D. (1952) Review

  1. Umberto D.

    Michael. I really enjoyed your review. I regret that you said first most of the things I wanted to say about the movie. Italian neo realism is a presentation of life as is. This taking into account that the movie Director’s point of view is really what we see, because he chooses the storey and the way he wants to tell the story. That sense of desolation, that you describe but did not mention in your review, is exactly what the movie Director was looking for. I agree with you and I would not pay a dime to see a movie like this, if I am looking for entertainment. On the other hand, I will see more of this type of movies because they are very didactic to learn how to tell story through film.

    Certain parts of the movie just let the camera roll as the actors naturally take on the characters that they are playing.

    I have been in a few South American countries in the 70s and they had, at the time, the kind of poverty and desolation that we “experienced” in Umberto. The movie was painful to watch.

    I recommend to you the Ladri the bicilette, “The bicycle thief” if you have any masochistic inclinations. .. I am kidding.

    Ricardo 1217.

  2. I just wanted to say that I really, really enjoyed reading this review. I really got a sense of your personality and point of view from it. Also I completely agree with you. Watching this film was terribly difficult. The hardship endured by an old man just trying to live his life was tragic. I too found myself dozing every now and then just because of how slow it moved and because I really dislike reading subtitles I feel it takes my attention away from all of the other spectacular details of films.

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