Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Review of 'Viaggio Sola' (A Five Star Life)

I really hated this film, which unaccountably won awards for 'best comedy' (and I didn't even realize it was a comedy until I saw that) and 'best actress'.

It's about an Italian woman who is a 'mystery guest' (as in 'mystery shopper') who visits the most expensive hotels and compiles reports on them for some sort of rating/review agency. We constantly hear and see the items on her check list, which are all about how good the hotel makes the guest fee. Early on we see her checking for inadequate cleaning, etc, but it's really about the amount of emotional labour the staff put in. There is no indication at all that the staff are people with their own dreams, fears, problems - this is seen entirely from the perspective of the over-privileged guests. The hotels she visits get a name check in the final credits, and they'd have nothing whatever to complain about - although the film, and the Italian title 'I Travel Alone' is vaguely meant to suggest that there is some emptiness in her life (she doesn't have a relationship or a family life) there is no suggestion that there is anything soulless or depressing about the hotels themselves, or anything fake about the promise of homeliness from an industrial facility.

Incidentally, until I watched this I never thought about the 'Five Star' in 'Five Star Movement'. Is the vacuous populist party actually aiming for some affinity with luxury brands?

As one who has spent some time in such hotels when traveling on business I really, really hate them - whenever I can I've chosen to stay in cheaper places or in Airbnb.

There is a bit about her flawed relationship with her sister - part-resolved when she buys the sister an expensive dress that she'd earlier told the sister didn't suit her. She makes friends with a British feminist anthropologist who dresses like an ageing porn star, and they plan to go out but the anthropologist dies in the night in her hotel room, which makes our heroine question her life's values, but not too much....

Watched on Netflix via Chromecast.

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