This delightfully eccentric queer Italian comedy is from married couple writer Sebastiano Mauri making his directing debut and starring his husband and co-writer Filippo TImi. Fairytale is adapted from a theatrical production of the same name which Timi also wrote and starred in and which premièred in 2011 to great acclaim. This last point is of interest because it explains both Timi’s unswerving passion to his role, but also the fact the film does feel like a staged play at times
Timi plays Mrs. Fairytale a 1950s American housewife who lives in a very stylised contemporary house that looks like an oversized Dolls House. Every morning straight after she bids her (unseen) husband farewell as he leaves for work, her best friend Mrs. Emerald (Lucia Mascino) turns up for a daily gossip.
Dressed immaculately (the stunning period costumes are by Fabio Zambernardi, design director at Prada ) they share stories of their lives which may seem (almost) perfect to us, but are full of fears of infidelity, depression and domestic violence. As the film unfolds it turns out that actually most of the fears are very well founded.
The other star in the film and other main ‘person’ in Mrs Fairytales’ life is Lady her poodle that has now been stuffed. The fact that she is no longer alive doesn’t stop Mrs Fairytale confiding in her and treating her as her other very best friend.
There are the occasional visits by one of the trio of handsome Scott brothers, young men who are her neighbors who are constantly knocking on her door to bring Lady back, who has somehow escaped again. Their visits give Mrs Fairytale the chance to flirt outrageously, but halfway through the film there is a very big plot twist and we discover that the lady of the house actually has her eyes set on someone else to romance.
This absurdist surreal comedy/love story is a sheer delight to watch and not just for the perfect set and costumes, but for Timi’s consummate performance. Too often when the main character of a film is in drag : think Mrs Doubtfire and Tootsie : the roles are always played by straight men. It’s therefore such a joy to have a gay man bring a better understanding and a real authenticity playing a character that they understand so much better than heterosexual men