Helmed by James D’Arcy, ‘Made in Italy’ is a heartwarming 2020 comedy-drama that follows the journey of a father and son as they attempt to renovate and sell an old Tuscan villa in Italy left to them by their late wife and mother, respectively. Robert is a struggling artist who returns to Italy after receiving an urgent summons from his estranged son, Jack, who hopes to restore the dilapidated property to raise enough funds for his divorce settlement.
As they work together to refurbish the villa, Robert and Jack must confront their painful past and unresolved emotions. Along the way, they encounter a good-natured restaurant owner and divorcee, Natalia, who reminds them of the history and beauty of the house. They meet colorful locals, encounter setbacks in renovation, and rediscover the beauty of life and love amidst the picturesque Italian countryside. With its poignant performances, charming humor, and serene visuals, one may seek out other movies like ‘Made in Italy.’
8. Letters to Juliet (2010)
Under the direction of Gary Winick, ‘Letters to Juliet’ follows Sophie who discovers a long-lost love letter and decides to reply to its sender. To her surprise, the original author, Claire, arrives in Verona with her grandson, hoping to find her lost love. Together, Sophie, Claire, and her grandson embark on a quest across the scenic landscapes of Italy to reunite Claire with her bygone lover. Sophie’s journey parallels that of ‘Made in Italy’, where characters grapple with lost connections and newfound revelations amidst the backdrop of Italy’s scenic beauty.
7. Ordinary Love (2019)
‘Ordinary Love,’ by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn, revolves around Tom (Liam Neeson) and Joan, a middle-aged couple who navigate the challenges of Joan’s breast cancer diagnosis. The film explores their journey as they come to terms with the emotional and physical toll of the illness. As they confront the uncertainties of Joan’s treatment and the impact it has on their lives, the couple’s bond is tested, revealing both their strengths and vulnerabilities. If you liked Liam Neeson’s poignant performance in ‘Made in Italy,’ ‘Ordinary Love’ sees an emotionally compelling essaying by the actor. Similar to the former, the film explores themes of enduring love and resilience amidst adversity.
6. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
With Audrey Wells at the helm, ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ follows the journey of Frances Mayes, a recently divorced writer who impulsively purchases a villa in Tuscany, Italy. Seeking a fresh start and hoping to rediscover herself, Frances embarks on a transformative adventure as she begins renovating her new home and adjusting to life in a foreign country.
Along the way, she encounters a charming and helpful man, an eccentric real estate agent, and the locals of the picturesque Tuscan village. Much like in ‘Made in Italy,’ Frances travels to the scenic Tuscany countryside and has to renovate an aging house. Both films see their characters undergo a personal and emotional journey of self-discovery, healing, and ultimately, finding love in unexpected places.
5. The Descendants (2011)
‘The Descendants,’ helmed by Alexander Payne, introduces us to Matt King (George Clooney), a Hawaiian landowner who faces family turmoil and revelations after his wife falls into a coma. Matt had been too preoccupied with his work, and after his wife’s accident, discovers that she had been seeing someone else, and that he does not know how to parent their increasingly rebellious daughter. Like ‘Made in Italy,’ ‘The Descendants’ is a lighthearted and often times comedic film that transports us to a stunning destination. Both Matt and Robert have strained relationships with their children, and are given an unexpected opportunity to bond with them.
4. A Good Year (2006)
A Ridley Scott directorial, ‘A Good Year’ tells the story of Max Skinner (Russell Crowe), a successful London-based investment banker who inherits his uncle’s vineyard estate in Provence, France. Initially intending to sell the property for profit, Max’s plans are disrupted when he revisits the idyllic estate and reconnects with his childhood memories. He immerses himself in the serene surroundings of the French countryside and becomes entangled in the lives of the locals, including the charming café owner Fanny Chenal.
Max begins to reassess his priorities and rediscover his passion for life. ‘Made in Italy’ and ‘A Good Year’ have a similar premise of returning to a childhood home with the intention of selling it, but learning to slow down and appreciate life’s simple pleasures and relationships in a foreign countryside setting.
3. Nebraska (2013)
‘Nebraska,’ directed by Alexander Payne, follows the journey of Woody Grant, an aging and stubborn alcoholic who receives a scam sweepstakes letter claiming he has won a million dollars. Despite his family’s skepticism, Woody becomes fixated on claiming his prize and sets out on foot from Montana to Nebraska to collect it. His son, David, reluctantly agrees to accompany him on the journey, hoping to keep his father safe and to indulge his own curiosity about their family’s past.
Along the way, they encounter various intriguing characters and confront unresolved issues from Woody’s past. Fans of ‘Made in Italy’ will be drawn to the film as the father and son duo bond during their travels, much like Robert and Jack. They come to understand each other better, take a step towards mending their relationship, and uncover family history.
2. August: Osage County (2013)
With John Wells in the director’s chair, ‘August: Osage County‘ delves into the dysfunctional dynamics of the Weston family as they reunite in their Oklahoma home following the disappearance of patriarch Beverly Weston. Led by matriarch Violet Weston (Meryl Streep), the family is forced to confront long-buried secrets and resentments amidst their grief. Violet’s three daughters, Barbara, Ivy, and Karen, each harbor their strained own relationships with their mother.
With an array of diverse personalities, the family members inevitably have humorously scathing remarks for one another. Comparable to ‘Made in Italy,’ the film features estranged family members coming together at their old home and attempting to work in unison despite their differences. Both movies explore the dysfunction, and the complexities of familial relationships, portraying the emotional turmoil and eventual catharsis of the family members.
1. The Judge (2014)
‘The Judge,’ by director David Dobkin, centers on Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.), a successful defense attorney who returns to his hometown in Indiana for his mother’s funeral. There, he reunites with his estranged father, Joseph Palmer, the local judge. Tensions between the father and son resurface as Hank brings up unresolved issues from his past, including the reasons behind their strained relationship and his lingering childhood traumas.
However, when Joseph becomes the prime suspect in a hit-and-run case, Hank reluctantly agrees to defend him in court. As they work together to uncover the truth behind the incident, father and son confront their differences and attempt to reconcile their fractured relationship. If you liked the grounded father-son dynamics in ‘Made in Italy,’ ‘The Judge’ presents a compelling exploration of the relationship. The films bear a comparable premise of returning to one’s home after decades and facing the emotional burdens dwelling there.