What is the most obvious course of action if you are a 12-year-old Sicilian boy when the fascist government
is taking over and the Allies are bombing
your village? Stalk the gorgeous madonna who just recently moved into town. That's basically the entire plot of Malèna
, an Italian romantic drama starring Monica Bellucci
This film provides examples of
- Abusive Parents: Renato's, especially his father.
- All Men Are Perverts: Or the vast majority thereof.
- Back from the Dead: Her husband, at the end of the film.
- Beauty Is Bad: Subverted since Maléna is not bad but the other women in the town have this attitude. The lawyer actually references the trope when defending her in court.
- Big Brother Instinct: Even though Renato is actually in love with Malena, his actions to the people gossiping about her have undertones of this.
- Bitch Alert: Every. Woman. In. The. Town.
- Bittersweet Ending: The townswomen let Maléna back into their lives, she's reunited with her husband, and Renato finally talks directly to her... before she walks out of his life forever. The narrator (Renato as an adult) then tells us that he's known many women who asked him not to forget her, but the only woman who never asked - Maléna - is the only one he's never forgotten.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Maléna herself cycles through all three colours in the film.
- Break the Cutie: The plot totally bends over to break Malena. It almost succeeds, specially when the other women beat her bloody purely for being prettier than them.
- Brick Joke: Renato makes his father swear to buy him a pair of long pants when Il Duce dies. After quite a while when it's confirmed Mussolini has been overthrown, we see Renato getting a pair of pants made for him.
- Character Title
- Chivalrous Pervert
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Renato.
- Decoy Protagonist: Maléna. The film is more actually Renato's story and how she fits into it.
- Distracted by the Sexy: The men of the town, by Maléna.
- Erotic Dream: Renato has them about Maléna.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Maléna's long dark hair represents her purity and innocence. When she cuts it and dyes it red it is symbolic of her becoming a prostitute. The blonde hair then symbolises her giving herself over to the Germans. Her natural brown hair has grown back but not completely at the end, showing how she still carries the scars of what happened to her.
- Fan Disservice: Maléna is dragged into the middle of the town in her lingerie and beaten savagely. She's half nude but also covered in blood and crying.
- The scene at the brothel comes across as this as well. You have all the whores surrounding Renato (who mind you, is around 12-13) and mockingly blowing kisses at him and making fun of him. The way the scene is done makes it more creepy than sexy.
- Foreshadowing: When Maléna walks through the town as a redhead for the first time, one woman can be heard saying "I'd like to cut off all that hair". Oh dear...
- Heroes Want Redheads: Invoked by Maléna's first "client".
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold
- Imagine Spot: Renato has a hilarious one where he imagines his teacher is Malena and says "is it true you're getting married" only for the elderly woman to angrily throw him out of the class.
- Karma Houdini: The women of the town who beat up Malena in public and her lawyer who rapes her.
- Madonna-Whore Complex: The eponymous Maléna.
- Male Gaze: And how.
- Ms. Fanservice: Maléna.
- No Export for You: More than 15 minutes was cut from the film for its non-Italian release (perhaps because the Italian definition of a family movie - which, believe it or not, is what this is in Italy - differs from that in Britain, Denmark, the US and other countries which got the scissors out).
- Right Through His Pants: Averted as the 12-year-old Renato has very little modesty in the sex scene, but that is cut out in many versions of the film.
- Shout-Out: Renato's dreams are shout outs to many films such as Bonnie and Clyde, King Kong and Cleopatra.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: The story of Malena's life
- Traumatic Haircut: Poor Maléna.
- Woman in Black: Maléna, when she becomes a prostitute.
- Woman in White: Used early on with Maléna to distinguish her from the other women.