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Euforia review - this tale of two brothers is not what you think

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A dramatic story directed by Valeria Golino, Euforia tells the story of two brothers battling a terminal illness that only one of them is aware of.

Image Credit: Premier Entertainment

Just to be clear, I was a little apprehensive ahead of seeing this film. Foreign films were never something I was really interested in, and before the viewing, I was a little nervous that I would just be looking at subtitles the whole time. With my expectations set very low, I was more than impressed after finishing the film; I was downright emotional.

 

Set in present day, the film follows an Italian man named Matteo. Seemingly on a permanent happy high, both from drugs and from how great his life is going, you can almost sense his joy through the screen. This is made all the more shocking when things suddenly change and we realise that all of this apparent happiness is a mere front. Things are clearly not as great as they seem.

 

We get a better picture of why this is the case when we are introduced to Matteo’s older brother, Ettore - perhaps his opposite in every way. He is cautious where Matteo is impulsive; introverted where his brother is extroverted. He’s cynical and grumpy, whilst his younger brother seems to display a sunny and carefree disposition. As the differences between the two brothers become even more pronounced (we learn Matteo is gay, and his older brother Ettore is stuck in a seemingly unhappy marriage that's filled with infidelity) they seem to resemble everybody’s brothers: two boys who had a sibling rivalry that they never really grew out of.

This is all well and good until we get to the real plot of the story: Ettore is dying of a terminal brain tumour, yet he doesn't know it. The ultimate plot twist? Matteo his younger brother, does know.

This is where the film takes a dramatic turn, and whilst this type of medical practice is wrong on so many different levels, your heart goes out to Matteo. While his older brother grows worse and it becomes clear he is slowly dying, we see Matteo’s big heart and good intentions get him into trouble. Your own heart aches for him as he tries to balance the duty and responsibility he feels towards his dying brother and the rest of the family, as well as the conflicting emotions he feels within his own heart.

Because this film like a real-live family story, these two brothers seem to fight about everything - other than the really important problem, which they never truly want to discuss. The chemistry between the two brothers feels like watching real life; it honestly took me a moment to remember these men were not actually related. Credit must be given to the casting director here, as well as these two actors for bringing Ettore and Matteo to life with such authenticity.

Image Credit: Premier Entertainment

Whilst perhaps a little over-dramatic at times, the film is visually stunning and does a tremendous job of pulling on your heartstrings. Whilst it portrays Matteo as the protagonist of the story, it still leaves a very clear message that no one person is all good or all bad, and the ability to fully flesh out each character is very much appreciated. For those that need a good cry, or enjoy a good family drama, this is one you won’t want to miss.

Euforia was included in the 2019 Cinema Made in Italy Festival, held 26th February - 3rd March.

Click here to read an interview with the film’s director, Valeria Golino.




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