“Finalmento libero, non e’ questo quello che hai sempre voluto?”
“Finally free, isn’t that what you always wanted?” Paolo, the protagonist of the movie L’ultimo Bacio (The Last Kiss) asks himself this as he struggles to undo the recent turmoil he has created in his once “perfect” life. He isn’t alone. His friends Adriano, Alberto, and Paolo all struggle with their own existential crises. Adriano is pushed away from his wife Livia after the birth of their son. Alberto overcompensates for his deadbeat life through his numerous sexual conquests, and Paolo can’t escape the shadow of his former lover or his feeling of responsibility for his dying father. Together they try to find freedom, thinking it will finally bring them the joy they seek. In the process, they learn painful lessons about love, loss, and friendship.
I remember watching this movie in college when I was beginning to develop my interest in Italian. I enjoyed it, but looking back I couldn’t remember if that was due to my growing fascination with the language or the quality of the film itself. I watched it again recently and discovered it is was the latter. The acting is exceptional and supported by a musical score that highlights the tension running through the movie. There are few movies with such emotional rawness. The film grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let go. You’ll find yourself simultaneously loving and hating the characters as they struggle to find meaning in their lives.
Zach Braff starred in a remake of L’ultimo Bacio for America audiences, but it isn’t as good as the original. Stick with the Italian version, and you won’t be disappointed. You can watch it on Netflix or buy the DVD from Amazon here: L’ultimo Bacio.