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Review: The Salt of Life

The Art House genre may not be that popular in film, but it's something that a growing number of movie fans may continue to get into as time goes by. The movies of this genre offer their own unique perspective and are usually geared toward a specific audience. They focus more on character development and may not have a clear beginning, middle or end either. The genre's description would probably best describe Gianni Di Gregorio's film The Salt of Life.

In The Salt of Life, Gianni Di Gregorio stars as a retired man named Gianni. He goes through life dealing with his overbearing and not so frugal mother (Valeria De Franciscis), his daughter (Teresa Di Gregorio), his daughter's slacker boyfriend (Michelangelo Ciminale), his young and incredibly attractive neighbor (Aylin Prandi) and many more people. Gianni feels that there is something missing in his life and he finds out what it may be when he sees many of his fellow older friends find love with beautiful younger women. He decides to go looking for love and he enlists the help of friends to do it. His only problem finding the time to do this? He still has to deal with the responsibilities of life.

The Salt of Life basically tells the story of life through the eyes of a lovelorn old man. We don't usually get movies from that perspective, so it was unique based on that alone. We find our lead character Gianni going through life attempting to find a purpose. He's coming to terms with being an old man, but he's still wants more. That's where some of the film stands out. It becomes an interesting process watching him go across town and while he learns about his reality. It shows some of the truths of aging and the revelations that may come with it.

This poses questions that are rarely asked on-screen and the answers being given are sometimes delivered in a humorous and "to the point" way. The answers, the actors and the story turn the movie into something that's wise, funny and warm-hearted in many ways. It appears to be handled and created by someone who knows about life and is broadcasting what he knows to the screen.

It's interesting watching this film that Di Gregorio directed, co-wrote and starred in. He uses the real names of many of the actors and even uses his actual daughter to play his on-screen daughter. It looks like he's just having fun with it and did a solid job in the process. This movie is an impressive feat, because of what it is and due to the fact that it's only the second film that the multi-talented Di Gregorio has directed so far.

Many of the characters in The Salt of Life are like normal everyday people. There are no outrageous personalities that you'd normally get in the American made versions of these types of films about family. They're down to earth and a lot of viewers may even recognize some of the traits in the characters in some of the people that they may know in their own lives.

When it comes to the style and comedy in The Salt of Life, I would say that it's close to what I saw in Jeff, Who Lives at Home. It's subtle and comfortably fits into the real world. As far as the premise is concerned, it's somewhat similar to movies like Superbad, but it features a retired sixty year old man instead of a bunch of kids and it's far more charming and innocent. To see an older man living in a world of wonder as if he was a teenager is way more engaging than I would have ever thought it could be.

The Salt of Life is a nice, breezy and delightful movie. You can say that Gianni Di Gregorio makes light of being an older man and he uses a few odd situations to do it. The movie itself is so positive and bright that you might not even notice how negative some of the actual parts of the story are. Something like this should probably more depressing and miserable, but he turns it around and makes it into something cheerful and entertaining instead.

This doesn't contain comedy that's would be considered "Laugh Out Loud" funny, but it does have several moments that will make I really liked. The good comes from the comedic subtleties that are in the film and the sense of normalcy and reality that's included with it. This is a movie that manages to be lively and vibrant in spite of the laid back tone and despondent back story that it adheres to.

Score: 3/5

Rating: NR

Director: Gianni di Gregorio

Gianni Di Gregorio
Valeria De Franciscis
Alfonso Santagata
Elisabetta Piccolomni
Aylin Prandi
Valeria Cavalli
Kristina Cepraga
Michelangelo Ciminale
Teresa Di Gregorio

Film Length: 90 minutes

Release Date: March 2, 2012 (Limited)

Distributor: Zeitgeist Films

Country: Italy

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