The Wonders (2014, Alice Rohrwacher)

Coming-of-age movie with good reviews. I preferred The Spirit of the Beehive. Older and younger girl work on the family honey farm, compete on an awful traveling reality show hosted by Monica Bellucci (last seen in Shoot ’em Up), but don’t do very well. Also the family gets a mute foreign criminal kid to work for them, part of some rehab program, and he and the oldest girl (terrific Maria Alexandrea Lungu) have a weird kinda-friendship. Lungu has a trick where she puts a bee in her mouth and lets it crawl out, which only reminded me of the superior Limmy version. Spoiler: boy escapes, family loses the farm.

T. Charity in Cinema Scope:

Rohrwacher deftly sketches the stress points within the family, but the film’s real focus is the bond between eldest daughter and father. At the beginning of the summer Gelso is appreciative of her role as Wolfgang’s most trusted helper (as well as default child-minder), even if she’s also dimly apprehensive of her dad’s short fuse, his coercive methods, and obsessive personality. He’s the patriarch, but also an outsider in a house overflowing with women and girls (literally: he sleeps on a mattress out under the stars). Over the course of a couple of months, the film traces how the balance shifts from admiration towards a more nuanced understanding of Wolfgang’s shortcomings, a trajectory from daddy’s girl towards the first stirrings of Gelsomina’s emancipation and womanhood.

M. Sicinski’s letterboxd review is my favorite, but harder to break into quotable pieces.

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