Fabietto Schisa (Scotti) is a gangly, awkward boy living with his eccentric family in Naples, circa 1985. Just entering adolescence, he mainly hangs out with his easygoing dad Saverio (Servillo), wacky mother Teresa (Saponangelo), and ineffectual brother Marchino (Joubert). Fabietto knows things are changing when his sultry but erratic Aunt Patrizia (Ranieri) starts causing unfamiliar but intriguing sensations. Still, underneath all the noise and excitement lurks pain and suffering, adultery and mental illness. Thank God for soccer and the great Diego Maradona, who may be headed for Naples, and the World Cup. Later, an unspeakable tragedy strikes, and Fabietto is forced to grow up fast and set a course for the rest of his life.
With “The Hand of God,” writer/director Sorrentino shares his most personal, intimate story, based on his own beginnings. Beyond his signature bold visual style, here Sorrentino seamlessly weaves themes of humor and redemption into what is essentially a very sad story. The film deftly balances tears and laughter so that in the end we are somehow more inspired than depressed. It’s a pretty miraculous feat, but then, we are in the hands of an expert. To his credit and the film’s benefit, Sorrentino treats all his imperfect characters with affection and respect. And we also recognize that these events helped launch a gifted filmmaker on a fascinating trajectory, reinforcing the essential mystery of life and fate. Don’t miss this vivid, heartfelt memoir from one of the finest directors working today.