Roan Johnson really delivers with So Far So Good (Fino a qui tutto bene), his entry into the Italian Contemporary Film Festival about a group of best friends who are suddenly forced to face the realities of post-graduation adulthood.
Ilaria, Francesca, Andrea, Cioni and Vincenzo are five recent graduates who have lived, loved and laughed together under the same roof throughout their school days. Beyond best friends, the five now face their last weekend as carefree youth before embarking on the next steps of their lives. Some will return to their hometowns, some will travel to faraway places and some will live out their dreams, but all of them realize that everything is about to change and no one knows if it’ll be for better or worse.
The movie begins and ends with the five friends casually enjoying themselves, be it by relaxing in a pool, or having water fights, or just a giant cuddle puddle where they talk about anything and everything that crosses their minds and hearts. Early in the movie it’s discovered that Ilaria is pregnant, the father being the man with whom she is having an affair, and she opts not to have an abortion. But the result of that is having to face her parents and reveal to them that their precious little girl is no longer as “pure” and virginal as they had thought. This dilemma is our first glimpse into the dynamic of this group who, at first, seem to be mismatched. But through their quirky, rapid fast and wildly funny dialogue, as well as the impressive tenderness they show towards each other and their unfailing attempts to help each other out in any way possible, we soon see just why this group is the star of this movie.
They are the group of friends you always wish you could be a part of. They lean on each other, poke fun at each other, know each other inside out. They fight, cry, laugh, dance, drink, fuck and love, but in the end they always return to each other as if magnetically drawn. They are each other’s comfort blanket and the big bad Real World looms ahead, making everyone just a little tense.
Usually when there’s a movie with a mixed gender group like this, the men are well-developed and the women very much less so. I’m happy to say that that is not the case in this film at all. Every member of this group has a distinct personality and each of the five—guy or gal alike—is equally developed. Ilaria is super sexual and unashamed of her sexuality. She likes to fuck and she likes to joke about it. And her speech, decision to keep her baby, and reaction to finding out her boyfriend has another mistress shows her to be a proud feminist even before she admits it to the viewers.
Francesca initially seems to be a sort of anti-feminist when she gets angry at her boyfriend Vincenzo for agreeing to accept a associate professorship in Iceland without consulting her. Later, she explodes and makes the excellent point of asking why she is expected to give up her dreams just so Vincenzo can live out his. She respects and is proud of Vincenzo for doing what he’s wanted to do, but she’s not willing to sacrifice her own aspirations, even for what could be the love of her life.
The three men play a form of rom-com tropes, with Vincenzo being the studious, studly one; Andrea the heartbroken artist-type; and Cioni the funny one. But despite their seemingly one-dimensional character summaries, they are actually very modern depictions of feminist men. None of them shames Ilaria for her pregnancy, nor for her promiscuity. None of them shames Francesca for opting to break up with Vincenzo over giving up her dreams. Even Vincenzo himself respects Francesca’s decision to do what’s right for her rather than what he prefers she do.
So Far So Good (Fino a qui tutto bene) has that perfect sort of cast of characters that fail to see gender. Gender is irrelevant in this film and it’s one of those rare movies where every one of the main characters is equal; you can’t imagine any of them without the rest. Throw in some of the funniest dialogue ever and the timeless question of “What now?” that is always perched on the tongues of new grads everywhere, and you have a clever, lovely, positively feel-good movie that you’ll definitely not want to miss.
So Far So Good (Fino a qui tutto bene) screens at Cinematheque Montreal on June 11 @ 7:00pm, at TIFF Bell Lightbox on June 13 @ 10:15pm, at Colossus Vaughan on June 15 @ 7:00pm, at Cinema Cartier Quebec City on June 19 @ 8:30pm and at Cinema Guzzo Montreal on June 19 @ 9:25pm,
Sarah is covering the Italian Contemporary Film Festival which runs in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City from June 11-19. For more coverage, click here!