For the fortysomething single woman at the center of "A Five Star Life," luxury travel provides a middle-class income. Her go-go globetrotting brings her to the world's premium resorts, armed with checklist, stopwatch and white gloves, to judge whether they get to keep that all-important fifth star. Putting her seemingly content protagonist through very low-key emotional crises, director Maria Sole Tognazzi gently explores what it means to be unmarried, middle-aged and female. She illuminates a seldom-seen line of work, bathes her flawed characters in affection, and makes points both obvious and astute, soft-pedaling her insights with celebratory travelogue touches.
A hit in Italy, the film earned the country's top acting award for
The movie's true tension concerns not the characters' outcome but whether Tognazzi and her co-writers will yield to Hollywood conventions by turning her heroine into a problem that only romance can solve. On that front,
"A Five Star Life."
No MPAA rating. In Italian, English and French with English subtitles.
Running time: 1 hour, 22 minutes.