“Work is not going well,” 25-year-old Amanda snaps when her older sister questions her need to acquire an electric fan in a supermarket promotion. “You don’t go to work,” comes the exasperated response.
This absurdist Gen Z comedy from the actor turned writer and director Carolina Cavalli is a riot of zingers and hilarious situations underpinned by poignant disaffection, loneliness and possible borderline personality disorder. As Amanda’s mother (Monica Nappo) points out, she’s incapable of even rudimentary tasks because she is “too busy doing nothing”.
Amanda, who is played by Benedetta Porcaroli, is an outlier in a family of weirdos who makes Fleabag look like a girlboss. Her ditzy mother is almost as disconnected as Amanda, and her sister’s eight-year-old daughter has been packed off to therapy because her mother thinks it’s selfish that the girl likes Jesus.
Materially, Amanda is supported by her pharmacist parents – and bourgeois privilege she affects to despise – as she bounces between virtual sex that doesn’t quite happen, raves that don’t look like raves and a boyfriend who isn’t a boyfriend. She goes to the cinema alone and brings the family maid to clubs.
When her mother tells Amanda that she once played as a kid with a local girl called Rebecca (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), she pursues this possible connection with dogged determination. For a moment the film’s heroine congratulates herself on having a best friend, a boyfriend, an electric fan and a horse (which she has become fixated on). Spoiler alert: at best, she has one of these things.
There’s something of the Greek weird wave or Wes Anderson in Cavalli’s deadpan humour, which is offset by Porcaroli’s wildly energetic central turn. The off-kilter framing and unceasing movement of Lorenzo Levrini’s cinematography mirror Amanda’s restless spirit. The quarter-life crisis has seldom been so entertaining.