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Review: 'The Goddess Of Fortune' is Assured Filmmaking from Ferzan Özpetek

by Roger Walker-Dack
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Sep 23, 2020
'The Goddess of Fortune'
'The Goddess of Fortune'  

If Ferzan Özpetek is not this reviewer's favorite queer Italian filmmaker, then he is definitely near the top of my list. This Turkish-born Italian captured our attention with "Hamam (Steam: The Turkish Baths)" in 1997. He then went on to capture our hearts with his multi-award winning "The Ignorant Fairies" (released in the US/UK as "His Secret Life").

Since then, Özpetek has established a real panache for his multi-layered queer stories that often center around some melodrama and/or tragedy, but always contains other twists that surprise us. He does prefer using his favorite actors as often as possible. Stefano Accorsi, who won Best Actor in "The Ignorant Fairies" also stars in this latest film. 

More importantly, however, is whilst all his films have main protagonists,  Özpetek and his co-writers always ensure that the ensemble cast has well-rounded roles that actually make major contributions to the films.

This particular story focuses on a gay couple in Rome who discover that the "rough patch" they are going through may be more serious than they think. Alessandro (Edoardo Leo) and Arturo (Stefano Accorsi) seem an unlikely couple. The former is a successful plumber who works for himself, whilst the latter, who evidently passed up in an academic career, works from home as a book translator.

In the opening scenes, they are throwing a party in their home for two gay friends about to get married, when in bursts  Annamaria (Jasmine Trinca), who is Alessandro's closest friend since childhood. Although she was born into an aristocratic family, Annamaria is a very free-spirited mother of two children fathered by different men, neither of which is any longer in the picture. She wants to leave her young children - Martina (Sara Ciocca) and her brother, Alessandro (Edoardo Brandi) - with Arturo and Alessandro for a few days whilst she undergoes some tests in hospital.

Annamaria may be vague about her health, but it's kind of clear to us where this particular line is going. However, what no one predicted was that Arturo had broken his agreement with Alessandro about having one-night stands, and has had the same lover for the past two years.

As they are coming to grips with this, Annamaria shares that her stay in the hospital will be much longer. As the two men are now on the verge of splitting up, they have no alternative but to take the kids to stay with their grandmother the baroness in Sicily.

Annamaria has been estranged from her mother for years, and the moment Arturo and Alessandro step into her unwelcoming, palatial mansion and meet her, they can completely understand why. 

At this point, Özpetek has us completely invested in this story and doesn't disappoint at all. This is every bit as entertaining as all his previous movies, and, as usual, he also treats us to some rather spectacular locations.

With an excellent cast and high production values, there is an assured maturity to Özpetek's films, which we so wish other queer filmmakers could aspire to.

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.

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