Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Light in the Piazza

When Nightly News’ Brian Williams was interviewing the women amputees who were so terribly hurt in the Boston Marathon bombings, he asked if any of them were finding comfort by curling up with good movies on an iPad. It seems that many people these days are enjoying films on iPads, Kindles, and laptops. It’s so reassuring and comforting to become engrossed in one, solo and under the covers once in a while. And it’s so wonderful to discover a new film that resonates, causes structured escapism, or simply entertains for a couple of hours.

The back cover said that The Light in the Piazza is “a woman’s film” and so, I knew right off the bat that it had possibilities. I had heard of the 2005 musical but not the film or book. The Light in the Piazza is about a lovely woman, serenely played by Olivia De Havilland, and her daughter, played by sprite-like and pretty Yvette Mimieux. Set in Italy, we soon discover a secret about Ms. Mimieux’s character, Clara, and the lengths that her mother, Meg will go to protect her child. I won’t reveal any more about the plot because I really believe that if you haven’t experienced The Light in the Piazza before and don’t know the story, you must let it reveal its charms leisurely and in due time, much the way the landscape changes from city to rolling countryside on a restful train journey.

I will tell you that Italy is beautiful, particularly Florence, and since the film was remastered, it appears to have been shot yesterday. Flattering the scenery further, are the gorgeous summer dresses designed by Christian Dior just for The Light in the Piazza. I’ve never seen so many pretty frocks; including a pale lilac two piece silk shantung which Meg wears twice. Clara’s clothes are sweet and darling: a spaghetti strapped sundress with a straw hat and blue ribbon, rattan handbags, a sarong style hot pink two piece swim suit, and pastel silk pajamas. Meg’s always appropriate gloves and coordinated pumps are not austere but elegant and made me long for the days when a woman’s outfit was not complete without her ladylike accessories, even in hot summer.

The Light in the Piazza’s musical score is lilting and never jars. Neither does the story – it ambles along with a few twists and turns that a gentle soul can easily handle. Rounding out the cast is young George Hamilton who has a persuasive Italian accent, and Rossano Brazzi, eternal Italian heartthrob.

Breathtaking and poignant, dignified and well-mannered, I think you will find The Light in the Piazza a true pleasure. And if you are in need of a little tender loving care, watch it on your personal device under the covers. Soon you’ll be bathed in golden sunlight. From the Piazza.

(Special thank you to Kay for making the introduction.)


  1. I watched this after you mentioned it on my blog. What a charming movie! The story is beautiful, and the clothes divine. I think my favorite thing was how the older woman - Olivia De Havilland - was outfitted to be just as pretty and stylish as her daughter with no frumpy dark colors in sight.

  2. You'll LOVE it Deb. And Lizzie, we should tell Lynn Malley of American Age Fashion, no?

  3. Yes! I think she would find the costuming of the film to be very interesting.

  4. There is an interesting scene in this movie where in the background you can see the statue of David before it was moved to inside the museum.

  5. Yes Priscilla! Imagine that outside and what would happen to it today...