Allegra loves her girlfriend samantha but cant commit. When samantha leaves her allegra rebounds with handsome professor phillip as well as with the beautiful recently single grace. Allegra juggles secret relationships wit... more »h both never suspecting that phillip and grace have a connection of their own. Studio: Strand Releasing Release Date: 07/03/2007 Run time: 82 minutes Rating: Nr« less
Written and directed by Maria Maggenti, "Puccini For Beginners" is a tres chic romantic comedy set in a movie-spawned Manhattan where virtually everyone we meet is Caucasian, trendily upscale and sexually conflicted.
The strained setup lands somewhere between a labored screwball sex farce and a recycled Woody Allen angst-fest: Allegra (Elizabeth Reaser) is an opera-loving, afraid-of-commitment lesbian who finds herself inadvertently and simultaneously dating both a man (Justin Kirk) and his longtime girlfriend (winningly played by Gretchen Mol). As Allegra bounces back and forth between her two oblivious paramours, the characters talk out the issues of their relationships as if they were channeling left-over bits from "Annie Hall" or "Manhattan."
"Puccini for Beginners" is one of those small-scale independent features that thinks it's being smarter and more insightful about romantic relationships than it really is. Actually, after all those really sharp Woody Allen exposes on the same subject, very little in this film feels like fresh observation. To be truthful, with the exception of Mol's winsome Grace, most of the characters here are more annoying than they are appealing. Not only are the plotting and much of the writing too cutesy by half, but so is Maggenti's directorial style, which relies heavily on smart-alecky narration, freeze-framing, and dopey fantasy sequences to generate laughs.
"Puccini for Beginners" offers a few genuinely funny moments within its blessedly short 81-minute running time, but throughout we're plagued by the nagging and irreverent suspicion that the film might have been more accurately entitled "Puccini for Idiots.""
Cute and complex, yet irritating
Dennis! | Washington, DC USA | 07/15/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
This movie was kinda cute and charming. Fun for a bit of mindless entertainment -- you can't allow yourself to get too focused on the fact that in the city of 8 million people this one chick happens to find herself in a room with her boyfriend, her girlfriend who is also the boyfriend's ex-girlfriend, and her ex-girlfriend at the same time.
The movie would have more endearing if I liked Allegra more. As it was, though, the movie was intended to be a chronicling of her growth, and that pretty much means she has little redeeming qualities in the first instance. And I found it very hard to care about her character when, after finding out that the two people she's "dating" (term used loosely) are an ex-couple and after being expressly advised by her best friends to dump them both, she apparently makes little to no attempt to do so -- as if she WANTED to get busted anyway.
I'm giving this movie 3 stars because I enjoy the acting talent of Mol and Kirk... but Allegra's character leaves a lot to be desired, and while she's meant to be "complex," she's also really kind of a jerk."
A. Kennedy | New Zealand | 07/17/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was really looking forward to the release of this film on dvd. I expected great things from it's maker. I was pretty disappointed when I finally got to see it. The film focuses mainly on the 'straight' relationship and none of the characters really have any chemistry. The story was kind of cute and watchable enough but it only really just touched the surface of things. It pretty much played it safe. I guess that's what you have to do if you wanna break in to the mainstream with these kind of subject matters."
Thought Provoking At Times
Jeff Marzano | Essex Junction, VT USA | 12/24/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I caught this movie on the Logo channel so I don't have the dvd but I figured I'd write a review anyway.
To me it's one of those movies that could never happen in quite this way in real life but it does raise issues that are real.
The main character hooks up with two people who are having problems in their relationships not knowing that their relationship is with each other.
I guess one lesson is if someone just wants to be 'the other person' this may be what they become which is what happens initially.
But ultimately she lucks out and causes someone else to become the other person and she becomes the right person which is what she so desperately wanted.
I guess the main point is how do people find that other person that is right for them. This is a very deep philosophical question. Even a spiritual question.
Perhaps the various experiences that these people went through was a necessary part of that discovery for them.
I think movies like this can be educational if they make people think about the implications, complexities, and possible outcomes of getting involved in intimate relationships. She perhaps underestimated the feelings that her two friends still had for each other.
The two main female characters in this movie are bisexual but this is not a graphic movie. At least not the version I saw on tv.
When Night Is Falling "
Humorous And Sweet
Callie | Ohio, USA | 07/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been interested in seeing this for a long time and finally bought it on a whim. I wasn't sure what to expect; the trailer for the film made it look pretty good, but I also felt like it would be easy to make this film cheesy or just dull.
I was happily surprised to find myself laughing throughout the entire movie! It was very funny and somehow managed to remain thoughtful during the process. Our main character, Allegra, (portrayed wonderfully and with excellent timing by Elizabeth Reaser) undergoes a tremendous transformation and makes me feel as though I'm on the ride with her. I find her to be a character that most people have been able to relate to at some point in their lives, which is another reason I was laughing so much; I could see similar things happening to many other people. (Not necessarily the bisexual love triangle, but I digress)
Though this movie didn't disappoint in making me smile, you may feel tears behind your eyes once or twice depending on how sympathetic you are to movie characters. (That's not a minus though!)
I am proud to call it one of the best independant films I have ever seen and I now gladly have this sitting in the front of my movie collection, as it has become an instant favorite. "Puccini For Beginners" is something that I easily see myself rewatching again and again, while laughing and loving it every single time."