The Hand of God (2021) Review: An Ambitious Film of Anguish, Art and Luck

The Hand of God, or È stata la mano di Dio, is an Italian drama film. It is written, directed, and produced by Paolo Sorrentino. The film has Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo, Marlon Joubert, Luisa Ranieri, Renato Carpentieri, Massimiliano Gallo, Betti Pedrazzi, Biagio Manna, Ciro Capano and others starring in various roles. The film won the Grand Jury Prize for the Golden Lion at the 78th Venice International Film Festival. Filippo Scotti also received the Marcello Mastroianni Award for his role in The Hand of God. The accolades do not end here. It was the Italian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards.

– The Hand of God review does not contain spoilers –

With a running time of 130 minutes, The Hand of God’s audio is in Italian. However, the viewer has the ability to choose English subtitles. The synopsis of the film on Netflix reads, “ In 1980’s Naples, young Fabietto pursues his love for Football as family tragedy strikes, shaping his uncertain but promising future as a filmmaker.” The Hand of God is Paolo Sorrentino’s masterfully made autobiographical drama. The movie has a rather misleading opening scene. We see young women waiting in a queue to board a bus. A car pulls up, and after a few cross-questions, a young woman board onto it and goes away.

The Hand of God starts out quite violently– domestic abuse and derogatory remarks set the tone of the film. However, the viewer is in for quite a surprise when they realise that the film relies heavily on subtlety to portray the unspeakable. Fabietto (played wonderfully by Filippo Scotti) is a skinny angsty teen in the backdrop of the picturesque Naples. His uncle, in one scene, declares his undying love for football and specially Maradona to Fabietto, with the kind of dedication that only a follower and believer can amass. 

The Hand of God

Fabietto has a huge noisy Italian family. However, Fabietto is intrigued by one member particularly, his aunt Patrizia (played by Luisa Ranieri). She oozes sexuality and Fabietto cannot help but be attracted to her. A lot of events transpire with most of his family members, giving the members a character depth that aids in the film. Fabietto’s brother Marchino (played by Marlon Joubert) gets selected for a screen test for a new movie by Fellini, Patricia encounters the little monk, and so on. The film thrives on details–it is the very soul of the film.

At times the viewer might be plagued by too many details. However, this normality and this easy attention to detail is what captures the essence of the film. Things take a turn when the inhabitants of the city get to know that Maradona is coming to play in the city. The Hand of God is not an easy film to watch. The viewer is tormented with uncertainty about daily household chores and the kind of anguish that normalcy provides. 

There are some funny jibes present in The Hand of God. When asked why the Fabietto family doesn’t have a television remote to operate the TV, Fabietto’s father Saverio (played by Toni Servillo) says that he is “not a Communist.” However, when the unthinkable happens to Fabietto, it is the “Hand of God” that saves him.

the hand of god

Summing up: The Hand of God

The film is a raw and brave attempt of Paolo Sorrentino at taking something traumatic and turning it into a cinematic experience. Fabietto learns that sometimes a change of perspective can be a lifesaver and so does the viewer. The film leaves room, sometimes too much of it, for interpretation but that is the beauty and the objective of any art form.

The Hand of God is now streaming on Netflix.

Also Read Takt Op Destiny Episode 11 Review: Preparing For The Final Battle.


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The Hand of God is a novel yet age-old attempt of portraying the perfect symphony between luck, anguish and art.

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The Hand of God (2021) Review: An Ambitious Film of Anguish, Art and LuckThe Hand of God is a novel yet age-old attempt of portraying the perfect symphony between luck, anguish and art.