Wanna know what movie you should be watching this weekend? Well, at this point in time, I can practically guarantee you that it’s going to be either the latest film from the Harry Potter franchise or Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz-Segalowitz-Son-in-Law. But if you’d like something a little different, my suggestion is that you consider watching Robert Pattinson’s latest offering, a film which I’ll admit I wasn’t overly familiar with before now.

The Man Behind The Movie

If you’re unfamiliar, Robert Pattinson had a very public split from his girlfriend, the actress Bella Swan, which the media dubbed ‘The Swan Saga.’ They remained friends and even started dating other people, but it seemed that their relationship had reached its end. This naturally led to speculation that Robert had cheated on Bella with other women. In response, Robert Pattinson took to Twitter to deny these rumors, assuring his fans that he was devoted to Bella and had never cheated on her in their entire relationship.

The Plot To Kill Time

Okay, so maybe I lied. I actually did know a little bit about Robert Pattinson before I saw his new film. I knew he was relatively young (26 at the time of shooting), an English rose who found fame at a young age, and had been romantically linked to numerous celebrities. But other than that, I didn’t really know much about him. So when I saw the trailer for Rome, I was naturally curious to find out more. And I have to say, I was not disappointed.

The movie follows the story of Senator Fulvio Marni (Matthias Schönhardt), who is currently in the midst of re-election bids as the Republican candidate. Because of his celebrity, Senator Marni’s public appearances are always highly-rated events. But his real life is a wreck as he is constantly stressed and plagued by nightmares. His wealthy wife, Anna (Daria Renee), constantly demands more and more from him, which causes them serious conflict. His daughter, Tessa (Emily Rutherfurd), is a student at Harvard and is trying to juggle a full course load with her demanding sorority sisters and her part-time job at a fast food restaurant. And his son, Claudio (Robert Pattinson), was a rebellious youth who grew up to be an infamous loan shark. Now, as an adult, he is a successful businessman who owns several luxury sports cars. So you can see why Senator Marni would want to spend some quality one-on-one time with his dear friend, Professor Emilio Leonelli (Marcello Mastroianni), an expert in Italian literature who has also recently been appointed to Senator Marni’s staff. What follows is the pair’s wily, yet witty banter as they try to work through their personal problems. But before we delve into the specifics of the plot, let’s take a moment to discuss the major themes running throughout.

The Importance Of Family

One of the themes which runs throughout is the importance of family. The Marni family is a dysfunctional one, largely due to Senator Marni’s relentless quest for perfectionism. He expects the same high standards of himself and his family, and sometimes, that can lead to serious conflict. For example, when Senator Marni discovers that his son has been sneaking around with a hooker, it throws a serious strain on their already tenuous relationship. Senator Marni demands that Claudio leave the house immediately and never come back, choosing to sever all ties with his only child in order to protect his own family name. In a later scene, we see that Claudio has indeed attempted to commit suicide by slitting his wrists. It is only after being rushed to the hospital that his father comes to see him and realizes the error of his ways. But while Senator Marni was willing to sacrifice his relationship with his son in order to keep the family name clean, he was willing to sacrifice his friendship with Professor Leonelli as well. And here, I think, lies the central conflict of the story. As great as Professor Leonelli undoubtedly is, he can never replace the love and familial bonds which the Senator cherishes with his wife and children. For Senator Marni, his family comes first, even if that means sacrificing the greater good.

The Cardinal Rule Of Relationships

Here, too, we have the idea of a ‘cardinal rule’ of relationships. In the film, Cardinal Bertone (Michele Strapagiel) rules that “a man must be more important to a woman than her career.” For Cardinal Bertone, this is a matter of principle. He believes that men should be the heads of the household, with the women there to serve them. And yet, this rule can often be at odds with the individual desires of the couples involved. Take, for example, the case of Anna and Senator Marni. Anna believes that she should be the driving force behind the successful re-election of her husband. So she sets out to seduce Professor Leonelli, in the hopes of achieving this. But it doesn’t end well. Professor Leonelli has already devoted much of his time to the senator’s election campaign, so there isn’t much chance of him being available for an illicit rendezvous. Similarly, Tessa wants to succeed in her academic career, so she is more than willing to lie to her father about her nightly activities. In both cases, the ‘cardinal rule’ serves as an obstacle to the satisfaction of each partner’s desires.

The Importance Of Friendship

In addition to the familial and romantic tensions which define the Marni family, we see the emergence of other kinds of tensions within the senator’s circle of friends. For instance, while he is ostensibly campaigning for re-election, Senator Marni has been enjoying the luxury of a permanent vacation, throwing himself heart and soul into his political activities. This has naturally caused friction between him and his best friend, Gabriello (Alessandro Nivola), who has taken the role of campaign manager this time around. While the senator is very happy to bask in the reflected glory of his young friend’s success, he is also aware that it hasn’t been easy for Gabriello to achieve. And this causes the two men to become closer, bonding over their shared burdens and celebrating victories together. But then there’s also the constant problem of his former lover, Silvia (Olga Kurylenko), who still holds a grudge against him. When they first meet on the street, she recognizes him and immediately orders him to leave her alone, or else. And yet, despite his better judgment, he can’t help but offer her a lift home, because he feels sorry for her. This causes the pair to become embroiled in a complicated love triangle which leaves us wondering which man will come out on top. In the end, he does what any self-respecting Italian man would do in this situation: he leaves his friend to deal with his former lover, and goes back to his family. But this time, he doesn’t come back alone. He brings along a former lover as a gesture of good faith and a token of his renewed commitment to Anna. And while this may not satisfy her desire for vengeance, it should provide the Senator with some peace and happiness in the years to come.

The Conflict Between Order And Chaos

The final conflict which the Senator’s story speaks to is the inherent, and often-times painful, tension which exists between order and chaos. We see this struggle played out in two distinct scenes. In the first, we have Professor Leonelli and the senator’s son, Claudio, who has just arrived home from Harvard. Having successfully negotiated an extension to his visit home, Claudio has decided to pop the question and ask his father for his permission to marry Helena (Cecilia Roth). Senator Marni is initially hesitant to give his blessing. He hasn’t seen his son in a while and doesn’t know what to make of this rather bold move. But then, Claudio surprises his father by revealing that he has also invited his friend, Professor Emilio Leonelli, to be their witness. And this is where the order/chaos conflict comes into play. Because while the senator is undoubtedly a headstrong man who places a high value on discipline and tradition, he also sees the value of keeping things spontaneous and creative. Especially now, with his political career in the balance, he doesn’t want to miss out on the fun, because what is life if you don’t appreciate the little things in life? So while he may not entirely approve of his son’s decision to wed, he also doesn’t want to stand in the way of this union, knowing full well that it will provide his son with the stability and the comfortable life he deserves. Like many parents, the senator simply wants what’s best for his children, even if that means putting his own needs and desires on hold for the moment.