Radford accepted the assignment, and Troisi assumed the title role of Mario, a simple Everyman whom Neruda slowly cultivates from tongue-tied wallflower to smooth Romeo. With Neruda's advice and introduction to poetry, Mario is able to overcome his awkwardness and enchant the woman of his dreams, the darkly beautiful Beatrice (Maria Grazia Cucinotta), and subsequently he convinces her to marry him. His transformation complete, Mario finds inside himself the romanticism and courage that we all wish for.
Radford, director of the spectacular 1984, creates a memorable and refreshing film about unadulterated love without resorting to gimmicks like modern Hollywood romances do. In The Postman, Troisi brings to starkly realistic life the character of Mario as the personification of emotion--feeling strongly for both a woman and his mentor.
Only a few problems stand out as noticeable. The subtitle translation could use some work, and the characters tend to mumble on occasion, making the extraction of emotion from a language I don't understand all the more difficult. Otherwise, I have no complaints. Everything in this unlikely movie seems to work well. Even The Postman's slow pacing fits the film perfectly.
The eye-popper to the story surrounding the film is that Troisi, a man with a long history of heart problems, died some 12 hours after the film wrapped. One could speculate that his devotion to the project kept him alive just long enough to finish shooting. And if that doesn't say something about what you can expect to see from Troisi on the screen, I don't know what does.
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Director: Michael Radford
Also starring: Philippe Noiret, Massimo Troisi, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Renato Scarpa, Linda Moretti, Sergio Solli, Carlo Di Maio, Nando Neri, Vincenzo Di Sauro, Orazio Stracuzzi, Alfredo Cozzolino, Mariano Rigillo, Mario Cecchi Gori, Vittorio Cecchi Gori, Gaetano Daniele, Anna Pavignano, Michael Radford, Furio Scarpelli, Giacomo Scarpelli