World War II is raging, but nowhere near as furiously as Renato's hormones each time he sees Malena, a statuesque beauty. Desired by the menfolk and despised by their women, she is left with little option than to exploit her allure to survive.
Malena (Belluci) is a statuesque beauty desired by the local menfolk in Worl War II Italy. Renato is a twelve year-old boy who worships her from afar...
A film that may well improve with subsequent viewings is beautifully shot with a sumptuous score to match.
Caught between glossy wish-fulfilment and hard-hitting realism, Tornatore, working well within his game here, doesn't always pull off the tricky transitions from whimsy to tragedy. But Ennio Morricone's score and Lajos Koltai's photography paper over some of the cracks, creating a beautiful, if not completely satisfying, work.