02/02/2014 04:49 pm ET Updated Apr 04, 2014

Popcorn Preview: Honey (Miele)

Honey 2013 (Miele)
Cast includes: Jasmine Trinca (The Son's Room), Carlo Cecchi (The Red Violin), Libero De Rienzo (Fat Girl), Vinicio Marchioni (Twice Born)
Director: Valeria Golino (first feature film)
Genre: Drama based on a novel by Mauro Covacich (Italian with subtitles)
Release date: To be announced

"Sit next to me," the old woman asks. Irene puts on the music she requested and goes out to the hallway to wait, listening to her own music with earphones. The next morning, she starts her day with a swim in the chilly Mediterranean. After that, she makes coffee. "Want coffee?" she asks Rocco. "I want you," he answers. Irene doesn't have time... a project with one of her professors, she says. But we soon learn that Irene is catching a plane to Los Angeles. "Pleasure to have you back with us," the hotel clerk says. After that, there's the tour bus to Mexico, where Irene leaves the tour to go to a pharmacy. "My dog is very sick. I'd like to put him down my self," she says. He offers Lamputal... she buys two. "You didn't buy anything?" a fellow tourist asks. "A half kilo of cocaine," Irene jokes.

"Good morning, Honey." On the job, Irene's name is Honey. This time it's Carla, who is terminally ill. Irene first asks if she's changed her mind. She hasn't. So Irene puts on gloves and carefully prepares everything, per Carla's requests. It's all in order... the music, the note, the tray with chocolates and the money. It should only take 2 or 3 minutes after Carla drinks the bitter Lamputal. You'd never guess Irene's occupation from her lifestyle. In between jobs, she swims, goes to nightclubs... anything to distance herself from the sadness of her occupation. She can't tell anyone, even her boyfriend, what she does because it's illegal. Her contact is Stefano... and today he's got an unusual "rabbit." Professor Grimaldi lives in an apartment in Rome. He doesn't want her assistance. All he wants is the lethal barbiturate, and he'll do it himself when he decides the time is right. This really isn't a good idea, but he catches her off guard and she agrees... only to rethink that decision later on.

"What a shitty job you have," says the sister of one of her clients. Indeed, it is a shitty job. It isn't exactly cheerful, and the clandestine nature of it can really wear you down. And now there's an issue with Professor Grimaldi that she needs to straighten out. In Italy, as in many countries, assisted suicide is illegal. Yet thanks to the assistance of people like Honey, terminally ill people can die in a time and manner of their choosing. Honey is a sensitive, interesting movie. It's not depressing, but it is thought provoking. Jasmine Trinca does an outstanding job as Irene, a woman who sincerely tries to live up to the practices she's been taught... but she's only human. Irene can't always maintain the level of detachment she's supposed to. Professor Grimaldi asks her about people who want to die. "Nobody wants to die," she tells him. "They all want to live. They just can't take it any more."

3 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
Irene works in the clandestine job of assisting terminally ill people end their life

Popcorn Profile
Audience: Grown-ups
Gender Style: Sensitive
Distribution: Art House
Mood: Sober
Tempo: In No Hurry
Visual Style: Unvarnished Realism
Nutshell: Considering the ethics of assisted suicide
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Thought Provoking

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