Review: The Invisible Thread
- Marco Simon Puccioni’s new movie explores the breaking up of a two-dad family and uses humour to tackle complex themes such as dual paternity and blood ties
We last saw Marco Simon Puccioni when he was explaining the day to day life of an LGBTQ+ family - his own, in fact - in All Together [+see also:
film profile], a documentary which revolved around the thoughts and perspective of his children, as kids of a homosexual couple who were born to a surrogate mother. Here, in The Invisible Thread [+see also:
film profile] - which is available on Netflix from today, 4 March, after spending time in Italian cinemas during a special release window between 21 and 23 February - the director of Shelter [+see also:
film profile] and Like the Wind [+see also:
interview: Marco Simon Puccioni
film profile] seems to have jumped forwards in time, and pulled on a fiction hat, to proffer a possible evolution of a blended family such as his, tackled from the viewpoint of a son wrestling with the ups and downs of adolescence, whose two fathers have reached crisis point and are on the verge of separation. Because an LGBTQ+ family is a family just like any other, with its own moments of joy and pain. And even though some believe their bond to be perfect and unbreakable, husband and husband are just as likely to fall apart and to see their family unit collapse.
When this does happen, however, things become rather complicated on a legal level. In matters of parental separation, Italian law doesn’t recognise dual paternity: family ties are exclusively defined by genetic lines. To whom, then, does a boy born to a surrogate mother in America and conceived via a “cocktail” of spermatozoids, ultimately belong? The protagonists of Puccioni’s film are forced to unearth the answer to this question in a story which uses humour and comedic tones to probe the modern-day meaning of “family”. Paolo and Simone (Filippo Timi and Francesco Scianna) are in a civil partnership and in the midst of celebrating their twenty-year anniversary, alongside their sixteen-year-old son Leone (Francesco Gheghi) who was born in California by way of Tilly (British actress Jodhi May), an American woman who helped his parents bring him into the world, and who is still a loving presence in their lives. But things fall apart when Paolo discovers Simone has been cheating on him for years. In the middle of an anniversary dinner with family and friends (including Aunt Monica, Valentina Cervi) which deteriorates to tragicomic effect, Paolo and Simone decide to separate. And from that moment onwards, a full-scale DNA war breaks out between the two of them to find out whose son (biologically speaking) Leone really is.
The story is seen through the eyes of Leone, who is working on a school project about LGBT rights in Europe, based on none other than his own, personal experience. Whilst also in the throes of first love with his beautiful school friend Anna (Giulia Maenza), Leone is forced to accept that his “beautiful family” isn’t quite as perfect as it seems. And so, caught between prejudiced views of homosexuality as hereditary, a raft of misunderstandings, civil battles, and various twists and turns, our young man – whose suffering is clear as day and is no different from that felt by any other youngster whose parents split up – finds himself thinking about the “invisible thread” which binds him to his two dads and to all those who brought him into the world.
Puccioni has chosen to tackle this complex social theme with humour, and the sense of oversimplification that we feel at several points in the story doesn’t detract from the film’s ability to convey an important message (family is love, irrespective of blood ties) or the fact that it’s a thoroughly enjoyable watch, helped in part by its talented lead actors: Timi and Scianna, who play the two spiteful spouses, and young Gheghi, whose star has been rising ever-upwards since My Brother Chases Dinosaurs [+see also:
interview: Stefano Cipani
film profile] and Padrenostro [+see also:
interview: Claudio Noce
The Invisible Thread is produced by Viola Prestieri and Valeria Golino on behalf of HT Film.
(Translated from Italian)
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