Carbon Arc Cinema Review: Amanda

I am the Artistic Director at Carbon Arc Cinema, part of a group of programmers who choose the films we screen. 

Written and Directed by Carolina Cavalli | 93 min |  Carbon Arc Cinema 

Our film from last weekend, Scrapper, was the debut from a British filmmaker, and this week we have another debut, this one from Italy.

It’s the story of a 20-something woman, Amanda (Benedetta Porcaroli), the scion of a family of pharmacists who still lives at home. She doesn’t have any direction in life, beyond meeting boys and making friends, both of which she struggles at.

Amanda, along with many of the other characters in the film, is deeply arrested. They’re mostly women in various stages of life, each trapped by their circumstances. Despite being 25, Amanda comes across like a child, with no real emotional maturity. When she was a kid she may have tried to drown herself in the pool — and that’s when her problems began. (Funnily, all the men in the movie have the same, hollow-cheeked look, with pronounced noses and shaggy hair, each a scuzzy variant of the other.)

Having someone so naive and immature at the centre of the picture is occasionally a frustration — but just as the film uses her privileged anxiety as a source of humour, it’s also honest about her loneliness and sympathetic to it. Porcaroli is terrific in the lead, spoiled and sheltered but also clear in what she needs and through the performance she allows us to feel for a character that otherwise might be too obnoxious to enjoy.

A childhood friend, Rebecca (Galatéa Bellugi), from an equally well-off family, has become a shut-in. Amanda is determined to reach her and rekindle their connection — and maybe have someone she can take to parties and raves.

The influence of Sofia Coppola is evident here in the tale of an isolated, poor little rich girl, but so is Miranda July and Wes Anderson, in the misfit life perspective, the gorgeous framing and slices of deadpan irony. Amanda is the kind of movie where you need to tune into its wavelength to appreciate it — it won’t be for everyone, but it has an undeniable, winsome charm.

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.