A movie review of “Hungry Hearts”: The film goes from a promising meet-cute scene to misjudged drama about a woman’s obsession with vegan diets and isolationist parenting.
Saverio Costanzo’s “Hungry Hearts” begins promisingly with a meet-cute scene that compresses the progress of relationship intimacy into just a few minutes. Jude (Adam Driver) and Mina (Alba Rohrwacher) find themselves locked in the bathroom of a Chinese restaurant, where they are forced to share close quarters, endure unpleasant odors and get to know each other.
A few cuts later, the young New York couple — he’s an American engineer, she’s an Italian diplomat — pair up and experience a career conflict, a wedding and the birth of a baby. From there, it’s a bafflingly misjudged drama about Mina’s obsession with vegan diets and isolationist parenting.
Baby and marriage are soon endangered, and the film’s initial naturalism is warped by overheated film technique and a dead-ending screenplay (adapted by Costanzo from a novel).
‘Hungry Hearts,’ with Adam Driver, Alba Rohrwacher, Roberta Maxwell. Written and directed by Saverio Costanzo, based on a novel by Marco Franzoso. 109 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. Varsity.
The New York Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.
Rohrwacher’s gentle expressiveness is flattened by a role requiring a monotonous strain of suspicion and mental imbalance. At one point, an extreme camera lens turns her into an apparition from those 1990s Steve Madden commercials. Driver injects sincere exasperation, but he, too, is boxed in by the child-in-peril plotting. So is Roberta Maxwell, as his abrasive, protective mother.
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Costanzo’s attempt at rendering the fraying of minds and marital bonds draws on notions of hysteria that only shortchange his characters.