Film review: There’s Still Tomorrow by Paola Cortellesi

“There’s Still Tomorrow” is a 2023 Italian comedy-drama film, directed by Paola Cortellesi in her directorial debut. Set in 1940s Italy, it follows Delia as she breaks traditional family patterns and aspires to a different future after receiving a mysterious letter that pushes her to reverse gender roles.

I found myself deeply moved by the story, which portrays the harsh female condition in post-war Rome, Italy. I admired the director’s use of contemporary music (versus period tunes) in significant scenes, integrating it into the narrative rather than using it merely as a soundtrack (such as the ‘dance fight’ between the couple). The daughter, husband, father, and neighbourhood were all portrayed in a very realistic manner, offering a slice of life.

“There’s Still Tomorrow” will be shown at Cinema Made in Italy at Cine Lumiere in South Kensington this week.

Film There's Still Tomorrow by Paola Cortellesi

Three weeks after its release in Italy, “There’s Still Tomorrow” achieved a box office of almost 14 million euros, confirming Paola Cortellesi’s successful transition into a new role as a director, co-screenwriter, and actress in Italian cinema. Cortellesi, a long-standing figure in the entertainment industry, particularly in Italian television comedy, has convincingly established herself as a multifaceted talent in this film.

The film’s success can be attributed to Cortellesi’s meticulous attention to her own image, which resonates strongly with audiences, as well as her portrayal of the protagonist Delia. Delia’s character embodies the struggles faced by women in post-war Italy, making her a symbol of political, social, and physical subjugation endured by generations of women.

Cortellesi’s direction effectively blends elements of neorealism with modern sensibilities, creating a film that speaks to a collective need to confront Italy’s past while reflecting on contemporary issues. The setting of post-war Rome serves as a backdrop to Delia’s journey, highlighting the societal norms and challenges she confronts.

The film’s conclusion, while lacking explicit commentary on women’s roles in Italian democracy, offers hope for the future, emphasising the importance of collective action in addressing systemic inequalities. Cortellesi’s decision to anchor Delia’s emancipation in historical events, such as the 1946 elections, adds depth to the narrative, underscoring the ongoing relevance of past struggles.

Overall, “There’s Still Tomorrow” is a poignant portrayal of resilience and empowerment in the face of adversity. Cortellesi’s performance as Delia is compelling, as is Valerio Mastandrea’s portrayal of her husband, the antagonist. However, it is Giorgio Colangeli’s portrayal of the father-in-law that truly shines, offering a nuanced depiction of patriarchal oppression.

Despite some narrative contrivances, Cortellesi’s film remains a powerful indictment of domestic violence and a testament to the enduring strength of women. Its blend of tragedy and romance, set against the backdrop of post-war Italy, makes it a compelling and thought-provoking cinematic experience.

London Mums’ Rating: 9/10

The trailer

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