The Hand of God: Sorrentino Returns to Naples


By Julissa Castro-Ruiz / Matthew staff || Edited by Giulia Leo

Director: Paolo Sorrentino 

Writer: Paolo Sorrentino 

Stars: Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo, Marlon Joubert, Luisa Ranieri 


Running Time: 2h 10m.  

Genre: Drama 

Through an intricately built storyline, Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino takes the spectator to Naples, Italy, in his latest film, The Hand of God. Telling the story of youth, Naples, filmmaking, and football, The Hand of God follows young Fabio Schisa and his chaotic family. Between laughs, football talks, teasing one another, and characters presented in their truest form, the audience learns how the family can be united despite their clashing personalities. Fabio’s Father, Saverio Schisa, is a sworn communist, his mother, Maria Schisa, is the family’s heart, and a known prankster, his brother Marchino Schisa, is an aspiring actor. They are all Fabio has, his pride and joy. They are of great comfort as introverted Fabio grows out of his bubble. Football is given center stage and used as a guiding tool in the film, as the family and all of Naples await the arrival of Argentinean football player Diego Maradona, who is set to play for the city’s football team. The promising energy that frames the movie is seen when, all around Naples, families gather to watch the iconic World Cup 1986, in which Maradona scored the infamous goal which gives its title to the movie. 

Themes of hope, youth, innocence, love, and growth are carefully sewed in the story. When a tragic incident changes Fabio’s life and forces him to grow and fend for his future, he discovers his love for filmmaking. Naples attracts various filmmakers throughout the film, and their teachings reach Fabio. His dream to become a filmmaker is fueled by his dramatic family and his aunt, for which he has both desire and compassion. This coming-of-age story also serves as a memoir of Sorrentino’s life. Sorrentino exposes the Naples of his youth, recreating snippets of his childhood and using specific scenarios to show the charm of Naples. A city filled with life, love, tragedy, and comedy. The perfect incubator for future filmmakers. 

The Hand of God is nominated for Best International Film at the 2022 Oscars. During its 2-hour running time, the movie takes its time to develop and explore Fabio’s personal and emotional growth fully. The movie doesn’t shy away from exposing the cruel reality Fabio has to endure. These scenes help the viewers create a more intimate connection with Fabio’s story and sympathize with his decisions. Fabio’s story is that of a teenager trying to find his place in the world. The Hand of God presents its audience with a heartfelt story that will have them reminiscing about their childhood. Through carefully crafted characters, astonishing cinematography, and a tribute to the Italian cinema, The Hand of God is a trip down memory lane.