Facing Windows portrays the life of Giovanna (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), a 29 year old Italian woman dissatisfied with her job, frustrated by her marriage, and generally overwhelmed by life. To cope with her unhappiness, Giovanna has been watching Lorenzo (Raoul Bova), a stranger whose window faces hers. The neighbors are brought together when Giovanna takes in an old, amnesic man (Massimo Girotti) who is trapped between the Nazi's 1943 invasion of Rome and the present day.
The story of the old man is compelling and artfully done. By combining elements from the reality of the present and his memories of the past, the viewer is transported into a mind paralyzed in a traumatic time period. The suspense builds as Giovanna uncovers clues to the man's past, and while her findings are surprising, the culmination of her efforts lacks a successful climactic pitch.
As the old man's story unfolds, the relationship between Giovanna and the object of her voyeurism builds. While the sexual tension between the two is palpable, any real emotion -- outside of a somewhat creepy fascination and a desire to escape reality -- is lacking. Though the characters insist that such feelings do exist, the filmmaker thankfully avoids the prescribed romantic ending for such an affair, redeeming the potentially clich‚d relationship.
While Facing Windows has some faults, it is a movie worthy of its many awards and honors. From the poignant music, to the visceral visual quality, to the incredible performances by Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Massimo Girotti, Facing Windows refuses to take the easy route, resulting in a complex and enjoyable film.