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This unusual and offbeat historical drama rests on a little-known conceit. Though seldom discussed in history books (and reportedly undisclosed for half a century), fascist dictator Benito Mussolini conceived an illegitimate son by a woman named Ida Dalser -- a son Mussolini allowed to be born, acknowledged, and then promptly denied for the duration of his life. The tale begins in early 20th century Milan, with Benito (Fabrizio Costella) working as the socialist editor of a controversial newspaper called Avanti. His dream in life involves triumphantly leading the Italian masses away from… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Carol Crivelli's soaring classical score heightens Bellochio's operatic tendencies."
‑ Joshua Katzman, Chicago Reader
"The untold story of how fascist strongman Benito Mussolini rose to power by trampling on the woman who loved him is a bracingly cinematic lesson in how all politics is personal."
‑ Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Bellocchio encapsulates the long-running mass hysteria of a nation enthralled by the demagogic antics of a now-seeming buffoon."
‑ Andrew Sarris, Film Comment Magazine
"A series of striking images that serve little purpose except to look striking."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
"Movie starts off with a bang, but begins to lose interest as the main character (Ida Dalser) descends into mental illness."
‑ Louis Proyect,
"An astute study of amour fou and a cautionary tale about how the worship of false idols can lead to personal and national collapse."
‑ David Jenkins, Time Out
"Vincere is a thrilling period drama about the power of delusions."
‑ Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"It's a real treat to see this provocative examination of the life of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. As Dalser, Giovanna Mezzogiorno delivers a passionate, ho-holds-barred performance. Filippo Timi is equally good as the bullish, blustering Mussolini."
‑ Jason Best, Movie Talk
"In telling the story of one wronged woman, Bellocchio shows how an entire country was flattered and seduced, then betrayed."
‑ Rob Thomas, Wisconsin State Journal
"It's all a grand and flashy affair -- but also weirdly prone to the incoherence, redundancy and bullying dehumanization that characterized the political history it presumes to critique."
‑ Jonathan Kiefer, Sacramento News & Review
"Bellocchio has turned the story of Mussolini's discarded wife and son into a movie that has some of the bully swagger and excess of Il Duce himself."
‑ Jonathan F. Richards,
"There's visual poetry here and haunted performances from Mezzogiorno and Timi -- who plays two roles, and is especially gripping as Dalser 1/2 1/2s grown son."
‑ Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News
"The events occur not to tell a narrative, but to illustrate an emotional progress."
‑ Jeffrey Chen, Window to the Movies
"An art-house version of a historical drama that takes plenty of risks--some of which are more successful than others. But you can't say enough about Giovanna Mezzogiorno's performance."
‑ James Plath, Movie Metropolis
"Vincere maintains its grip through sheer flair."
‑ Derek Malcolm, This is London
More reviews for Vincere on Rotten Tomatoes

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