Finalmente l’albe (Finally Dawn) is a 2023 period drama premiering at this year’s Venice Film Festival. Starring Rebecca Antonaci and Lily James, it follows a young Italian woman who finds herself on a night-long adventure with glamorous starlet Josephine Esperanto (James).
There have been plenty of stories over the years that follow the lives of glamorous starlets and ordinary people being flung into their paths, The Lizzie McGuire Movie being the best of these, Babylon being the most recent. It’s disappointing then, that Finally Dawn does not manage to have a single original thought during its interpretation of one crazy night with your idol. The film is filled with cliche after cliche, both within its dialogue and its plot beats and yet it is still an unbearable length that refuses to end. When one of your conceits is a twist on the ‘no one actually speaks Finnish’ joke from Confessions of a Shopaholic, surely your script could do with another pass?
Leading the film is Antonaci in her feature film debut as Mimosa, a sheltered and starry-eyed 21-year-old Italian girl. Unfortunately, Antonaci struggles to hold the film’s attention, eliciting little to no range. She spends virtually the entire film looking like a petrified rabbit caught in headlights, far more awkward than endearing. The film’s central idea relies on her instant charm and magnetism, but it fails to come through on screen, instead leaving us flat and disinterested.
Boasting a large ensemble of recognisable names in James, Willem Dafoe, Joe Keery and Rachel Sennott, the film ultimately seems a waste of such a talented cast, who all deserve far better than tired dialogue and laughable poetry.
With a title like Finally Dawn, I should have been forewarned about the length of the film, but nothing could prepare me for the 2-hour runtime that felt like a whole night. When part way throughout the movie we are told a lioness was loose in Rome, I found myself rooting for it to kill our protagonist, just so the film would finally end.
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Ex film teacher and frequent couch potato. I try and see at least one new release a week, but I’ve somehow got to 30 without having seen The Godfather?