𝐏𝐚𝐨𝐥𝐨 𝐌𝐚𝐜𝐆𝐮𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐧 🇮🇹’s review published on Letterboxd:
«I don't like reality anymore. Reality sucks. That's why I want to make movies». Despite this declaration of intent that Paolo Sorrentino puts in the mouth of his adolescent alter-ego, with The Hand Of God the Neapolitan director proves to himself, even before the audience, that he is able to sink his cinema even into the most intimate and disconsolate reality without reticence nor modesty, armed only with a gaze that manages to be both disenchanted and poetic, hilarious and moving. Similarly to works such as Once Upon a Time in America and I Vitelloni, which are explicitly honored here, the film is a backward journey on the thread of memory. A journey suspended between truth and transfiguration, which gradually becomes an act of love towards cinema and its tutelary deities: Fellini and Leone, but also Troisi and Capuano.
At the center of the story is the adolescence of the filmmaker in Naples in the 1980s, celebrating the arrival of Diego Maradona. The film - as much a family chronicle as it is a fresco of an era - effectively intertwines the fate of a young man with the portrait of a splendid city, albeit traversed by lacerating contradictions. While maintaining a very recognizable trait, Sorrentino carefully avoids fraying (or rather, disuniting) in the redundant baroqueisms of the latest works, in favor of a more essential approach, through which to represent closely the protagonist's struggle for the conquest of his own identity. A coming of age that takes place through a brutal confrontation with pain and a necessary split from the hometown. With inseparable headphones and a walkman on his belt, Fabietto leaves Naples aboard a train, seeing the only possibility of salvation and redemption in the encounter with the cinema. And while Pino Daniele sings «Naples is a dirty paper, and nobody cares and everyone is waiting for luck», he is determined not to wait any longer and go to look for - with the same perseverance with which Maradona undertakes to take free kicks during training - his own personal fortune.