You've got to love European films in which it's taken for granted that women over the age of 35 are sexy and interesting. This too goes for the sunny Italian import "Bread and Tulips," featuring Licia Maglietta in the Anne Tyler-esque tale of Rosalba Barletta, a middle-aged Roman wife and mother on vacation who happens upon a freer and more suitable life for herself after her tour group accidentally ditches her. Stranded at a rest stop, she hitchhikes to Venice on impulse. There, the former mad housewife blossoms, making friends, finding work as a florist, and rooming with an eloquent, sad-eyed Icelandic waiter (the always endearing Bruno Ganz). Meanwhile, her gruff but harmless husband (Antonio Catania) hires a bumbling amateur detective (Giuseppe Battiston) to track her down. With its quirkiness, gentle wit, emotional openness, and vibrant visual palette, "Bread and Tulips" offers unexpected joie de vivre of its own.
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