Mia Madre (15)

four stars

Dir: Nanni Moretti

With: Margherita Buy, John Turturro

Runtime: 107 minutes

WITH her mother dying in hospital and a movie to make, Margherita does not have her troubles to seek, and that’s before American star Barry Huggins (John Turturro) and his enlarged ego arrive in Rome. Nanni Moretti’s drama, in which he also stars, is a moving portrait of a woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown who refuses to give up just yet. Margherita Buy is terrific in the lead, possessing a face one never tires of watching in close up, and Turturro delivers a wickedly funny portrait of an actor who cannot get enough of himself.

Glasgow Film Theatre, from tomorrow

Palio (12A)

four stars

Dir: Cosima Spender

Runtime: 91 minutes

FROM Rome to Siena and a documentary about the Palio horse race, a contest begun in medieval times that draws crowds in their thousands today. Homing in on a young contender’s fight to take the champion’s crown, Cosima Spender’s film is a gripping, sensual riot of colour and passions.

Glasgow Film Theatre and Filmhouse, Edinburgh, from tomorrow

Captive (12A)

two stars

Dir: Jerry Jameson

With: Kate Mara, Michael K Williams

Runtime: 97 minutes

JERRY Jameson’s Atlanta-set drama, based on a true story, begins with an almighty plug for a Christian self-help book and grows ever more obvious from there as we follow the story of desperate Ashley (Kate Mara), a former addict trying to stay clean, as her life collides with that of a killer on the run (played by David Oyelow). An odd, and not in a good way, preachy piece.

Lessons in Love (15)

two stars

Dir: Tom Vaughn

With: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek

Runtime: 95 minutes

PIERCE Brosnan plays Richard, a lecturer on the romantic poets who likes to take his work home with him. Enter sisters Kate and Olivia (Jessica Alba and Salma Hayek), plus good old fate, to teach him some lessons about lurve and fidelity. Contrived and ridiculous, and that is before Malcolm McDowell, 72, turns up as 62-year-old Brosnan’s father, but the ever charming former 007 offers some compensation as the silliness mounts.