Well known Italian actress Valeria Golino makes an assured directorial début through her slick and stylish drama “Miele” [Eng. Title: Honey]. Co-produced by her partner and actor Riccardo Scamarcio, the film looks at the controversial topic of euthanasia and the moral dilemma it could pose.
Thirty year old Irene (Jasmine Trinca) leads a double life – to her father and friends, she’s a fun-loving young woman working on a post-graduate thesis, but to her clients, she’s known by the name of Miele (aka Honey) – the angel of mercy who helps to permanently alleviate suffering in the terminally ill. Through her frequent jaunts to Mexico via USA, high-flying Miele procures over-the-counter veterinary barbiturates to run her profitable enterprise, aided by leads generated through a male nurse-friend at a hospital. Professional in her dealings and following her own strict code of ethics, she will clinically supervise her clients’ assisted suicide – they’ll have to do the deed either on their own or with help from a family member, only after being assured of the incurable nature of their illness, and upon having legal disclaimers duly signed. But Miele’s motivation is nevertheless largely driven by a personal childhood trauma.
Miele will be forced to confront a moral dilemma when one of her clients, a retired architect named Carlo Grimaldi (Carlo Cecchi), turns out to be in fine health – he’s just fed up with life and wants to end it all, and demands the same rights she accords to a sick person. Miele refuses to carry forward his request, but Grimaldi, already supplied with the necessary drug, refuses to return it back. In the process of trying to retrieve it from him, a platonic relationship develops between the two, which will draw Irene out of her comfort zone, posing questions about her own life and the validity of her clandestine crusade.
Despite the strong cast and crew, two factors make the film what it is – Valeria Golino and Jasmine Trinca, as director and star respectively. It would be hard to tell that this film was made by a début director without formal training in film-making. The mature script, devoid of cliché (written by Ms. Golino, Francesca Marciano, and Valia Santella, based on Mauro Covacich’s novel), and the cinematic flair it brandishes wouldn’t go unnoticed by the viewer. Golino certainly has the eye of an auteur, but in her first outing has also mixed in some mainstream elements that doesn’t quite work, but I guess she knows this already. Jasmine Trinca keeps us transfixed to the screen almost single handedly through the subtle nuances and attitude she displays in her character Irene – a refreshingly atypical characterisation that’s rare to see these days. Together, Golino and Trinca present a film full of intensity and heart, which makes it Highly Recommended Viewing..!
The Nudity: Jasmine Trinca
A memorable performance from the lovely Jasmine Trinca also contains three scenes in which she’s featured in the nude. The first one is the longest, when her character is with a boyfriend in a caravan.