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:: My Best Enemy (Il mio miglio nemico)

Carlo Verdone is justifiably acclaimed as one of Italy’s greatest comedic actors of the last thirty years. This film, in which he directs, co-writes, and acts, was one of Italy’s best of 2006 and it sees Verdone at the top of his game.

Achille De Bellis (Verdone) is manager of a top rated hotel chain, the property owned by his wife Gigliola (Agnese Nano) and his brother-in-law Guglielmo (Paolo Triestino). He seems to have the successful life we all crave – beautiful home, great job, good family, etc. It looks rosy as Achille and his wife prepare to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary (25 years).

However, life has a habit of taking bad turns. Achille soon finds out how life can come crashing down. There are problems at the hotel as a drug-dependent worker is accused of stealing and subsequently sacked. Achille himself is found out as an adulterer, ironically by the sacked worker’s son, Orfeo (Silvio Muccino). Orfeo looks at this situation as a means of revenge for his mother’s sacking. The other complication is that Orfeo has met and fallen in love with Achille’s daughter (Ana Caterina Morariu).

There are plenty of amusing sequences in this tumultuous battle between the two male protagonists. Then, through the love of one woman – Achille for his daughter, and Orfeo for his love of the same young woman – we are led to a search across Europe for her whereabouts. She had left her family in discontent at what had arisen.

Carlo Verdone and Silvio Muccino have previously worked together in the film “Manuale d’Amore” (Manual Of Love) from 2005 and there is a charming chemistry between the experienced actor and the up-and-coming actor. Both show further depth in their acting qualities. Muccino is still learning the craft and his dramatic acting features will improve with experience. The romantic and dark features of the film are well shown with the tough family situations and gentle sentimentality. Perhaps the length is the only drawback. But that is just a minor criticism in an otherwise sincere and enjoyable film, with a heart-warming ending.