Zach Gallegos’s review published on Letterboxd:
I had viewed CODA earlier in the day, a film that is straightforward with its plot and doesn’t reinvent the wheel but still offers a sweet tale of love and family.
The Hand of God, however, isn’t as straightforward with its plot. This film is chalked full of recurring symbolism, like a VHS tape of Once Upon a Time in America that never gets watched, or a sister that doesn’t leave the bathroom the whole film. It is rather difficult to tell if these are examples of deep symbolism associated with growing up in Italy, or if they are just running gags to get laughs from the audience. What is much easier to understand is how this film is modeled after the childhood of director Paolo Sorrentino, and young Fabletto is a reflection of Paolo himself.
Most of my gripes with the film stem from the plot and how muddled it can get at points, but there are no complaints when it comes to the cinematography, acting or score. This film oozes Italian cinema in every sense, and the Italian culture itself is as important of a character as any. Sorrentino’s creative chops are on full display here, leaving the viewer with the impression that every single shot has its place. From a panning shot of a coastal Italian city, to a shot of Fabletto sleeping on a train, everything feels apart of Sorrentino’s creative vision.