Tommaso (Marco Giallini) is a brilliant heart surgeon. Success has given him a swagger an arrogance that intimates his medical colleagues as much as it impresses them. And, his home life seems to have suffered as well. He seems no to cherish his beautiful home and barely notices his lovely wife Carla (Laura Morante) and can barely mask his contempt for his aimless daughter Bianca ( Ilaria Spada) and her charmless husband Gianni (Edoardo Pesce).
The bright spark in Tommaso and Clara’s life is their son Andrea (Enrico Oetiker); a bright handsome young medical student. However, Andrea seems to have changed recently, excusing himself every night to secretively go out with a unknown male friend on his scooter. When Andrea announces that he has some news to share with the family, Tommaso gathers everyone together, assuming Andrea is about to come out of the closet, and demands they all treat his decision with respect and dignity. But, Andrea’s news is far more surprising, a revelation that will shatter and unravel Tommaso’s world.
Andrea wants to be become a priest!
Unable to accept this, Tommaso sets out to investigate what has happened and soon discovers Andrea has been influenced by a charismatic priest, Don Pietro (Alessandro Gassman). Perhaps there is something in the priest’s dark past that could explain why he has influenced Andrea?
God Willing is Edoardo Falcone’s directorial debut, having had a long career as a screen writer. In many ways, it’s a endearing homage to Italian comedy that is, in it’s own way, delightfully retro, harking back to a time when religion had a more prominent, practical and less controversial role in Italian society. The director has clearly set out to balance family drama with light comedy in a way that makes the film’s sympathetic portrayal of religion feel fresh and unforced.
In fact, everything about God Willing feels effortless. The pace is gentle and the acting is engaging, with Giallini’s interactions Gassman a particular delight. God Willing is a rare gem, a grown up film that wants to ask questions about religion and our quest for meaning in a way that isn’t shrill or sensationalistic. In doing so, this humble comedy manages to become a charmingly memorable film, one that manages to accept the tragedy, or at least the melancholy of life, the way joy is always framed by sorrow and struggle.
God Willing won the audience award at the 2015 Tokyo International Film Festival.