'Tea with Mussolini" is an even better movie than I remember (1999). At book club, we were laughing about some of the cross-cultural incidents that happened to Liz Gilbert in "Eat, Pray, Love." I immediately thought of getting together to watch "Tea with Mussolini" with its the references of Italy. The movie has an excellent cast--a veritable cast-of-dreams (A&E adaptations of Jane Austen novels not withstanding):
*Joan Plowright (heartfelt nurturing for the orphan)--
*Judi Dench (the artsy pea-brain with her terrier)--
*Maggie Smith (the stubborn widow of the late ambassador who is consumed with her importance and Mussolini's word) -- and
*Cher (the obnoxious American--what a good role!)
The women are living in Florence just before World War II and remain banded together until the war is over. The one liners and Shakespearean references are all over the board: from hysterically funny to melancholy tear-jerkers. The credits say it is semi-autobiographical. Afterward, we discussed the selective service, the draft, and all matters military. What a lovely evening. I wish Ana could have been here. She was my initial inspiration for book clubs. And you could always count on a couple bottles of wine and international dessert to go with the good literature. We followed our usual book club format by beginning with refreshments and concluding with conversations we were loathe to cut off. The Italian refreshments included Vee's anti-pasta, Wife's biscotti, atichoke dip, and a chilled Pinot Grigio wine.