Living in Rome in the 1970s, being accepted for their abnormalities is nothing but a fantasy to Clara (Penélope Cruz) and her female-born, 12-year-old son, Andrew (Luana Giuliani). In sequences of black-and-white, writer/director Emanuele Crialese presents to us visions from Andrew – based on the television variety show that him and Clara watch together, he’s dressed up in a tux and slicked back hair and singing beloved Italian songs to an adoring crowd, his mother acting as his beautiful blonde companion in the show. It’s a world that both are accepted and even celebrated for who they truly are. But, in L’immensità, this is far from their reality.

"handles its deep and sometimes emotionally violent issues with a beautiful delicacy"

Outside of the monochrome fantasies, their world shown in naturally palleted color, expectations weigh heavy on Andrew and Clara. Neither of them conforms to the norms of their gender or identity. Clara’s Spanish origins coupled with her eccentric personality – which can turn the chore of setting the dinner table with her three kids into a celebration of song and dance, but it can also be embarrassing when she tries to play with a group of children at a dinner party instead of mingling with the adults – marks her as an outsider in not only the country she’s living in, but also in her home. This pain of being ostracized is something that bonds her and Andrew. He understands this feeling all too well, claiming he’s an alien from outer space, that Clara and her (abusive and cheating) husband (Vincenzo Amato) “made him wrong.” It’s only when Andrew meets a local Roma girl (Penelope Nieto Conti) through the forbidden reeds just outside the family’s apartment that he can be himself with someone who accepts him, no questions asked.L'immensità

Pulling from his own life, it makes sense that Crialese gives us a deeply personal perspective on the struggles of growing up as a transgender kid. Rather than treating the topic as a heated political issue, there is a very innocent and grounded execution. From Clara still calling Andrew “Ardi” (for Adrianna, his given birth name) to his siblings saying to stop “pretending” to be a boy and much more. There is a swell in emotions surrounding it yes, but the drama never becomes overwhelming. And the young newcomer Giuliani does a fantastic job bearing the weight of such personal and difficult feelings. And Cruz, it almost goes without saying, is wonderful as always, portraying a woman yearning for a different life and struggling to cope within strict circumstances that don’t allow her the have the freedom and innocence she craves.

L’immensità is a film that handles its deep and sometimes emotionally violent issues with a beautiful delicacy. There are moments of confession, but it also excels in placing emphasis on the things unsaid. And with two powerful lead performances, it is at many moments a very moving picture.

L’immensità is now available on Blu Ray courtesy of Music Box Films.

4/5 stars



Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Music Box Films
Available on Blu-ray
- August 16, 2022
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
: English
Italian: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Italian: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Rome, 1970s. Clara (Penélope Cruz) is struggling to raise her three children under the crushing expectations surrounding marriage, gender, and identity in the early 1970s. Her eldest child, Andrew (newcomer Luana Giuliani) – whom Clara calls Adri – was born female but yearns for another life: an outsized, vibrantly-realized vision of a world where he can live as the boy he knows himself to be. Telling adults that he’s an alien from another galaxy, Andrew often ventures through the reeds to visit a local Roma girl who accepts his boyhood at face value. Also ostracized as an outsider, the eccentric Clara instinctively strives to protect her children despite not fully understanding their realities. An effortlessly moving “sun-dappled nostalgia trip” (New York Times) about coming of age and breaking the mold, L’immensità is as freewheeling and creative as its characters, mixing genres and staging musical numbers out of thin air.


Presented in a 2.35.1 aspect ratio, the 1080p transfer of L’immensità sports a very nice and natural color palette that also highlights the sun-soaked streets of a brightly lit Rome, wonderfully complimenting the light and innocent perspective of the film. The black and white sequences, while not showing off a great depth in the contrast, still give the same brightly-lit feel that the colored sequences have. The detail and clarity of the image is consistently good and is very pleasing to the eyes.


The 5.1 DTS-Master audio with the original Italian dialogue does well in immersing the audience in this coming-of-age, family drama. Ambient sounds of the busy Italian streets, the powerful Italian pop songs and ballads, and the dialogue are all mixed well in this crisp and clear track.


There’s some neat behind-the-scenes photographs and the trailer, but this release lacks any type of substantial extras.


  • None

Special Features:

  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 1/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars


Film Details


MPAA Rating: Unrated
99 mins
: Emanuele Crialese
Emanuele Crialese
Penélope Cruz; Vincenzo Amato; Luana Giuliani
: Drama

Memorable Movie Quote:
Official Site:
Release Date:
January 19, 2023 (Sundance)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: September 12, 2023
Synopsis: The story of love between Clara and her children, set in Rome in the '70s.