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“THE ETRUSCAN SMILE” Heartfelt and Endearing



Review by John Delia

A heartfelt film, The Etruscan Smile follows a man who wants to make amends and finds the love he never knew he had. The movie gets very touching, a bit maudlin, but for the most part an inspirational movie with some lighthearted comedy that’s nicely acted, directed and produced. If you like films that have a human interest plot, than check out this motion picture that’s now on Blu-ray, DVD and even VOD platforms.

In his senior years Rory MacNeil (Brian Cox) still lives in his hillside home overlooking the sea in Scotland. He now lives alone after a long marriage that bore him an son Ian MacNeil (JJ Field) who estranged lives in San Francisco. Married to Emily (Thora Birch), Ian and Emily recently have made Rory a grandfather. His daily routine includes a nude dip in the sea and a visit to the local pub where his neighbor Campbell (Clive Russell) routinely engages him in an argument that started so long ago.

Rosanna Arquette as Claudia and Brian Cox as Rory in The Etruscan Smile from MVD Entertainment Group

Due to circumstances involving a local doctor visit, Rory decides to go to San Francisco to see his son and daughter-in-law he never met. While there he gets bad news from Ian’s family doctor. It’s the spark that leads Rory on an adventure of finding himself, family and even a short romance. First time big screen directors Oded Binnun & Mihal Brezis move their film along at a pretty good pace getting Rory to America and setting up the drama that will include apologies, being stubborn and dealing with decisions he should have made years before.

Starring as Rory is one of my longtime favorite Scottish actors Brian Cox. He’s a consummate star that can fit in any role he’s offered and here he puts on a display of a touching human experience that is very memorable. His Rory has to become defensive and stubborn, a demeanor he’s carried over from a past in which there are regrets, and he nails the role. His character has to change and get softened and out of the blue it happens when he meets his grandchild Jamie. It’s a signal that the time has come to strip the old persona and do some magic with his new found family.

Brian Cox as Rory and Echo Boom Epps or Aero Kapow Epps as Jamie in The Etruscan Smile from MVD Entertainment Group

Older folks will remember Brian Cox as Winston Churchill in Churchill (2017), Hannibal Lecktor in Manhunter (1986) and Argule Wallace in Braveheart (1995). Younger people should recognize him from X2: X-Men United as William Stryker and The Bourne Identity series as Ward Abbott. The actor has appeared in over 220 film and TV shows.

In the role of the recently born grandson Jamie, both Echo Boom Epps and Aero Kapow Epps are magnificent sharing the screen time. They respond easily to direction, bring loving expression, and even show a fondness for Rory who has the boy playing opposite him through a good portion of the film. Congratulations to the Epps family as they will have memories of their children that will last them a lifetime.

Thora Birch as Emily and JJ Feild as Ian in The Etruscan Smile from MVD Entertainment Group

The Etruscan Smile has been rated R for some language, and very brief nudity. You can find the film on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD (check your local cable listings and other platforms)

FINAL ANALYSIS: Endearing performances and a heartfelt story line make the film a must see for Drama lovers. (4 out of 5 Stars)

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Brian Cox, Rosanna Arquette, Thora Birch, JJ Field, Peter Coyote, Treat Williams
Directed by: Oded Binnun & Mihal Brezis
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating:  R for some language, and some brief nudity
Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min.
Video Release Date: June 16, 2020
Original Theatrical Release Date: November 1, 2019
Language: English, Gaelic with English Subtitles
Distributed by: MVD Entertainment Group
Released on: Blu-ray, DVD, VOD

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