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Tea with Mussolini

  • Drama
  • Comedy
  • 1998
  • Franco Zeffirelli
  • 112 mins
  • PG

Summary

Eccentric English and American women living in Florence during the tense pre-war years of the 1930s experience the ups and downs of parenthood when they collectively adopt a local boy disowned by his father. However, as international hostilities break out, their happy existence comes under threat. Period comedy drama, starring Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Cher, Lily Tomlin and Baird Wallace.

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Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Franco Zeffirelli here turns the camera onto his own life as a young boy growing up in Mussolini's Italy of the 1930s. Following his mother's death, the young Luca is rescued from the prospect of life in an orphanage by an eccentric group of expatriate women dubbed "Scorpioni". We assume Luca is Zeffirelli himself, not that he's the central character of the film - he's more the eyes through which we see these corseted and costumed women, who are like refugees from a Merchant Ivory drama. Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, Lily Tomlin and Cher give boisterously strong performances as the gaggle who gather over tea to gossip, and who act as unofficial minders and teachers to Luca. As it continues, the movie becomes a more conventional series of wartime anecdotes rather than a rich character piece.

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

rolename
ElsaCher
ArabellaJudi Dench
MaryJoan Plowright
Lady HesterMaggie Smith
GeorgieLily Tomlin
LucaBaird Wallace
Luca (child)Charlie Lucas
PaoloMassimo Ghini

Crew

rolename
DirectorFranco Zeffirelli

Details

Theatrical distributor
U.I.P. (UK)
Language
English
Guidance
May be edited for language.
Available on
video and DVD
Formats
Colour
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