On this small Italian island, not much happens. Most people are illiterate and become fishermen. Mario (Massimo Troisi) is a sort of dreamer, wanting more, but not realizing what. He finds a job as a postman, the island always had a post office, but never seemed to need a carrier before. His job is to deliver the mail to one person, the exiled poet Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret) from Chile.
I’ve got to say, Mario’s got a sweet job, riding his bike along the Mediterranean coastline with mountains in the background. I’d take that job for free.
Pablo fascinates some people in the village, especially Mario. Their relationship starts from awkward business and a simple exchange of mail to a genuine friendship. Pablo inspires Mario, teaches him what a metaphor is and inspires him to become a poet himself. Right after Mario meets the beautiful Beatrice (Maria Grazia Cucinotta), who can make Foosball seductive, he asks Pablo to write love poems for him. I cringed, praying that trite road wouldn’t be taken. Thankfully, Pablo convinces Mario to write his own beautiful poetry to his love.
An intriguing theme about the dangers of words comes up. It’s an honor to house a foreign poet but for one of their own to take up the pen seems dangerous. Mario is the only one who dares to enter the realm of written creativity. And metaphors, the tricky devils. When Beatrice’s aunt finds the poems Mario has written for her, she’s immediately worried, questions his motives and how far he’s gotten with her. She has to go to a priest to have the poems read to her.
It’s a fun question to ask ourselves: how powerful are our words? Not just those of a Nobel Prize winning poet, but the struggling novelist, a student, an unemployed blogger, a chronic texter. Twitter has recently decided to archive all public tweets. Now your grandkids will be able to timeline our epic weekends. One of the greatest things about The Postman is how it illustrates the power of the written word. It can bring fame, peace, exile, war, love, hate or a tsk-tsk from your mom (thank you facebook).
I would like to pick Il postino for ’95. Braveheart is just too much and overrated. Sense and Sensibility isn’t daring, just straight up Austen. Apollo 13 comes first for rocket scientists. And Babe wonderful, but kids’ stuff. Il postino has an important intellectual quality that would’ve been compromised had it been made in Hollywood. I’m so proud of this little Italian film. Heart, friendship, integrity, intelligence-it’s all here.