Film / Reviews

'A Five Star Life'

by Kaori Shoji

Special To The Japan Times

A Five Star Life (Hajimari wa Itsutsuboshi Hotel Kara)
Director Maria Sole Tognazzi
Language Italian (subtitled in Japanese)

Unless one has a lot of wealth at handy disposal, one goes through a fair share of less than luxury hotels. Though in my case, “less” tends to lean toward “vastly less.” Anyway, here’s the story of a woman whose job is to stay at the best hotels in the world. Nice, huh? “A Five Star Life” traces a few months in the wake of 40-something Irene (Margherita Buy), who has chosen a life of freedom and luxury travel over marriage and family. Twenty years ago, this decision had seemed blindingly right, but now Irene is not so sure.

The theme is achingly familiar, but director Maria Sole Tognazzi keeps the story from drowning in cliche. Still, Irene’s job is ultimately more interesting than Irene’s hang-ups, which include an ex-fiance (Stefano Accorsi) announcing his intentions of marrying a young woman he’s just met. Irene feels like she’s the last carefree single left standing as the world moves on.

At least she’s standing on the beautiful floor of an executive suite, and we get to be there too, in a manner of speaking. Savor the breathtaking interior details of the Hotel de Crillon in Paris; the thick, gorgeous weave of the towels at the Fonteverde Natural Spa Resort Tuscany, the glamour of the PuLi Hotel and Spa in Shanghai. Save your sighs and head to the theater.