Review: The Hand of God

The Hand of God screenshot

Original title: È stata la mano di Dio
Year: 2021 | Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A buddy from work and I were talking about The Hand of God maybe a week ago, and he asked me if this movie had anything to do with the Maradona goal that shares its title. I replied that I didn’t really know that much about the film, but based on what I had heard, probably not. Shows how much I know.

Significantly more intimate and subdued than director Paolo Sorrentino’s 2013 masterpiece The Great BeautyThe Hand of God is also somewhat less profound that the former, but I question if profundity is really what Sorrentino was going for here. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have its emotional or philosophical moments (it most definitely does), but ultimately, this feels much more like a specific story about a specific teenager than it does a fictional account that aims for any sort of universal relativity. This is simply Sorrentino telling his story, and some viewers are going to relate to that and some aren’t.

Sorrentino’s success in doing so demonstrates an admirable dedication to his vision, even if it results in a sometimes puzzling viewing experience: What makes Maradona so great that a teenage boy would choose having him come to his hometown team over having sex with the most beautiful woman he knows (granted, I personally wouldn’t want to fuck my mom’s sister, but Fabietto [Filippo Scotti] clearly has no qualms with doing so)? Why was an illegal goal scored in a World Cup game such a monumental cultural moment? I guess you had to be there.

Nonetheless, The Hand of God is a visually-interesting, at times moving portrait of a young man in crisis, made all the more poignant by the fact that, according to Sorrentino, it’s almost entirely a true story.

Language: Italian
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 2 hr. 10 min.
Rating: R

Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo, Luisa Ranieri, Marlon Joubert

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