Penelope Cruz tips the scales in skill and virtuosity in Italian director Emanuele Crialese’s, “L’immensita” (immensity); shadowing his own struggle with gender identity in the 1970’s. It is a film metaphorically nuanced, reminiscent of today’s gender divisive world. “Clara” (Cruz) a dazzling housewife with three children, the oldest “Adriana/Adri” (prodigiously astounding Luana Giuliani) at twelve comfortable in his male identity, unjudged by his immediate family; the film avoids sentimentality and sensationalism, assuredly, a festering issue then, as it is now.
“L’immensita” flirts with magnificence in its monochromatic, fantastical dance sequences between Clara and Adri; Cruz’s balletic agility, ebullience cascades from the screen, daring viewers to participate; her songs, achingly, poignantly slash one’s heart and plummets one’s tear ducts.
At its core percolates the relationship between mother and child; Clara, has yet to claim ownership of motherhood; she is her children’s playmate, a damaged doll, unequipped to handle a caddish husband (Vincenzo Amato) and the choice of her eldest; her irresistible beauty eclipses accountability, transforming her into a tragic, soulful victim of an impenetrable “immensity” never to be quelled.