Umberto D.

October 18th, 2010

Although Umberto D wasn’t an action movie of any kind, with any in your face explosions or over the top unrealistic drama of any sort, it was probably one of the most intense movies I’ve seen in a while, in terms of emotion. It’s really a simple, yet sad, every day story that happens to many people. An older retired man can not afford to pay his rent on the pension he receives, and spends the movie trying to figure out how to deal with this. Though the plot sounds pretty basic, and maybe not like the most exciting idea for a movie, watching it you will find it impossible not to empathize with this character and watch the entire movie anxiously hoping that things will work out for him.

As I’m sure lot of people who have watched this movie felt, for me the most heart wrenching bits of the film revolved around the main characters relationship with his dog, Flike. His dog is extremely loyal, and aside from the maid Maria, is Umberto’s only true friend. The scene where Umberto is looking for Flike after he has gone missing is completely terrifying. I was so worried that he wouldn’t see his dog again, and even after finding Flike it is still a heart breaking sequence, because there is another old man who can’t afford to get his dog back and many other unclaimed dogs, or dogs with owners who can not afford to claim them, get killed. This scene shows the viewers how much Umberto loves Flike, he pays for the cab to get to the dog, and we assume pays whatever the fee was to have his dog returned to him. As we know from the beginning of the film, he is saving every penny in effort to make his rent, yet in this scene he is willing to pay anything to make sure his dog is safe and get it back. Here we see him get a sense of what is really important, though he looses this soon after his reunion with Flike when he gets back to worrying about getting evicted.

Umberto wanting to kill himself is foreshadowed in the scene where he looks out the window and directly down to the ground. He’s realized that there is nothing he can do to keep his room and in desperation sees suicide as the only option. Once again, it is Flike who makes him see that this isn’t the solution. After numerous attempts to find a new home for Flike, Umberto realizes that he can’t find anyone to take the dog and also that the dog refuses to leave him. He decides to take Flike with him and jump in front of a train, however, once they are in front of the train tracks and the train gets close, Flike becomes terrified and runs away. This is another scene that really gets to you, because Flike has trusted Umberto over everyone else and for the first time you see him scared of his owner. Umberto eventually gets Flike’s trust back with a toy and the movie ends on this scene. It is a somewhat ambiguous ending, because we do not know what is going to happen to Umberto and Flike or if they will end up ok. However, I for one am really glad it ended this way, and not with him and the dog getting separated in any fashion. The scenes where the possibility of that seemed close were the hardest to watch and if it had ended that way it would have been extremely depressing.

I enjoyed this movie very much, and I was very impressed that a movie with such a seemingly monotonous plot could be so captivating.

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One Response to “Umberto D.”

  1. jeffonboard on October 21, 2010 1:55 am

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that this film is heart-sinking. Carlo Battisti gave an exceptional performance to portray a lonely retired man who desires nothing more than a settlement and companionship. The ambiguous ending was left for interpretations for viewers to consciously develop their own conclusions. Perhaps that is where we can find fragments of hope. After all, Umberto and Flike deserve a happy closure after all those struggles they endured.

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