I have a shameful confession to make. Although I adore classic films, I’m a bit of a snob about it too. As a general rule I prefer black and white pre-war (that’s WWII) pictures. I like them even better if they are comedies. Although I have found some movies which don’t meet my criteria, generally these types of films are my first choice. So, a movie such as Light in the Piazza, a drama set in Florence in the 1960’s in full color is just the type of film I put off watching. But after finally giving it a chance, I found out just how much personal prejudices can be wrong. And I’ve never been more glad.
Mother and daughter, Meg and Clara Johnson, are newly arrived in Florence from North Carolina. They are there to see the historical sights. But unbeknownst to Clara, this open ended vacation is all for her benefit. Because of an accident when she was young Clara has the mental capabilities of a ten year old but the body of a grown woman. She attracts men, but her innocent exuberance towards them leaves her vulnerable. After an incident with the grocery man, her mother whisks her away as a means of escape.
While in Florence the Johnson women meet a handsome young Italian man by the name of Fabrizio Naccarelli who is instantly smitten with the pretty blonde Clara. The attraction is mutual, but Clara’s naivety concerns Meg who does everything she can to keep the two apart. She becomes even more worried when Fabrizio’s father encourages the relationship. Able to see that Clara and Fabrizio truly love each other she decides to separate them. Meg drags Clara with her to Rome where she has arranged for her husband to meet them. But after a conversation with her husband and witnessing Clara’s despair, Meg is left with a very important choice to make.
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