Don’t Stop Me Now [Ma Cosa Ci Dice Il Cervello] — Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2019 — Palace Cinemas, September–October

Paola Cortellesi has taken starring roles of all kinds, and this single movie demonstrates her versatility. In Don’t Stop Me Now (literally: “But What the Brain Tells Us”), Cortellesi plays Giovanna, a payroll accountant with the distinction of having a more uninteresting job than any of her daughters’ classmates’ parents do. In fact, Giovanna is a highly trained field operative for Italy’s intelligence services. And her current mission plays havoc with her single parenting of a young daughter.

This could have been a rather tense film in which the hazards of Giovanna’s professional life spilled over to threaten her personal life in the shape of her daughter; but in fact it takes a rather different turn as Giovanna uses her professional resources to right wrongs that her friends have suffered due to increasing public disenchantment and disengagement. And it’s her creativity in both spheres of her life that largely gives the film its unusual blend of continuous action and continuous hilarity — creativity that an enforced holiday only serves to feed.

Beautifully plotted, naturally acted, and lit with finesse and filmed with originality, Don’t Stop Me Now enjoys the fortunate distinction of being nonstop entertainment for everyone and of withstanding repeat viewing for years to come. See it when you get the chance, for its action, for its comedic creativity, and for the satisfaction of watching Giovanna’s personal relationships blossom, reigniting her friendships and a long-lost romance.

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