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My House in Umbria (2003, Maggie Smith, Ronnie Barker)

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Richard Loncraine’s film stars Maggie Smith as Emily Delahunty, a spinster of a certain age who lives in Umbria. Boarding a train for a shopping trip in Milan, she is in the carriage that is blown up by a terrorist bomb and only she, the General (Ronnie Barker), a young German, Werner (Benno Furmann) and a little girl, Aimee (Emmy Clarke) survive.

On a whim, she invites them to recuperate on her estate and each nurses their physical and emotional wounds, until the arrival of Aimee’s uncle, Thomas Riversmith (Chris Cooper) throws both Aimee and Emily into turmoil. Smith steals the film, with her expressive face and eyes often revealing more than the dialogue, but the story, based on William Trevor’s novel, is full of delicate, unhurried subtleties that unfold at their own pace.

production details
UK – USA – Italy / 103 minutes / 2003

Novel: William Trevor
Script: Hugh Whitemore
Director: RIchard Loncraine

cast
Ronnie Barker as The General
Timothy Spall as Quinty
Pietro Ragusa as Terrorist
Giancarlo Giannini as Inspector Girotti
Benno Fürmann as Werner
Maggie Smith as Mrs. Emily Delahunty
Chris Cooper as Thomas ‘Tom’ Riversmith
Libero De Rienzo as Dr. Innocenti
Emmy Clarke as Aimee
Cecilia Dazzi as Rosa Crevelli
Anna Longhi as Signora Barcini
Deirdre Harrison as Phyllis, Aimee’s Mother
Silvia De Santis as Madeleine
Alison Cameron Adam as General’s Daughter
Lynn Swanson as Francine Riversmith
Taddeo Harbutt as Young General
Vittoria Colonna Di Stigliano as Young Woman
Yari Gugliucci as Terrorist
Anna Orso as Woman in Siena
Ana Mulvoy-Ten as Girl (uncredited)

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