1999 - Italy - 117 minutes
Writer - John Mortimer and Franco Zeffirelli
Director - Franco Zeffirelli
Internet Movie Database User Rating - 6.7/10 - Link to IMDB
Roger Ebert Rating - 2.5 of 4 Stars - Link to Ebert's Review
My Rating - 4 of 5 Stars

Tea with Mussolini is Franco Zeffirelli's autobiographical remembrance of events of his boyhood in Italy before and during World War II.  It concerns the activities of a group of expatriate ladies played wittily by Cher, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, and Lily Tomlin.  Zeffirelli performs his usual magic in creating exquisite visual images and intriguing characters.  Watching the actions of the characters in this movie is a worthy reminder of how decent people can become so involved in their own lives and interests that they allow horrendous things to happen around them.  Fortunately, for the idealistic viewer, all of the main characters "come to their senses" and are redeemed by the end of the film.  It is not particularly realistic, but it makes for a wonderful "feel good" movie.  The DVD is a little disappointing in that it has no extra features.  I yearned to have someone talk about how the real people compared to the characters in the movie.  None-the-less, this movie is a delicious treat.

Neil Turner
February 1, 2000

Un Te con Mussolini
English Title: Tea with Mussolini