Tell No One is a fun, light hearted Italian coming out rom-com that follows graduate Mattia (Josafat Vagni) as he prepares to relocate to Madrid for work and to live with his boyfriend, Eduard (Jose Dammert). The film centres around themes of acceptance, shame and deception, as contrary to what he’s told his boyfriend, Mattia has yet to tell his family about his orientation or his boyfriend.
Mattia’s lie to Eduard regarding his family’s knowledge and acceptance of his sexuality and the couple’s relationship is executed with the help of his long term friend Stefania (Valeria Bilello) and drag queen Giacomo (Francesco Montanari), with Giacomo even posing as Mattia’s mother over the phone to the Spaniard. The duo of supportive friends and Mattia would otherwise have gotten away with their acts of deception if not for the fact that Eduard announces a surprise visit to Rome on the night of Mattia’s farewell family dinner…the morning of the said dinner.
Torn between potentially losing his lover or his family, or possibly even both for that matter, Mattia does all he can to prevent the situation, he tries coming clean to his family, but his confessions are continually misunderstood and misheard. He tries to divert Eduard arrival to the dinner by having Stefania and Giacomo commandeer him at the airport and distract him from attending the dinner.
It comes down to Sefania drugging Eduard while Mattia continues with his family meal, something that becomes increasing pressured for the youth as the moment of his confession builds. Finally and loudly proclaiming to his entire family that he is gay, Mattia is faced with silence only to be met with that ever infamous line “We know.”
Because, as it turned out the entire family, even his grandmother (Lucia Guzzardo) and brother-in-law (Francesco Montanari) had been aware of his sexual orientation the whole time but had been unsure how to bring up the subject.
This stereotypical line and reaction is somewhat anticlimactic, as we’ve spent the entire film watching Mattia’s ever building anxiety and witness non-linear scenes of his family life that make his anxieties seem reasonably well founded only to be met with a bland finale. Despite this though, the fact that Mattia was so anxious throughout really allows the audience to empathise with the shame felt by the youth regarding his natural desires, feelings of guilt as he wondered if by revealing his true nature he would be letting his family down, disappointing what he things is their presupposed perfect image of him.
Mattia’s sentimentality, wonderfully captured by the film’s cinematography provides a heart-warming tale of acceptance, not just from others, but of one’s self. Alongside believable and empathetic acting from the entire cast the film is plausible and filled with situations all audience members can certainly identify with. With humorous comic relief coming in the form of Lucia Guzzardo’s portrayal of Mattia’s grandmother the balance between cynicism and positivism is well maintained throughout the film.
Despite dragging a at times – it gets a little tiring constantly watching someone repeating the same process of building up the courage to deliver pre-planned lines only to either have a change of heart at the last minute or have them misunderstood. Tell No One is definitely one to watch for those of you hunting for that light hearted film filled with friendship, love and happy endings.
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