Don't Tell (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Don't Tell relates the story of a woman who is suddenly overcome with trepidation when her significant other starts to talk about having a bambino. She starts having nightmares about herself as a child. The essence of the film consists of her need to understand what caused her sudden psychological breakdown. The general theme of the film is to present the sorts of effects of child abuse which can linger into adulthood.

I would have given you a "spoiler" warning about writing that last sentence, since the character spends the entire film trying to determine just what has caused her meltdown, but there was no need to. The director spoiled it, not me. There is no mystery for the audience, only for the character. Even though I speak no Italian, I could figure out from her very first nightmare that she had been molested by her father when she was a girl. She, on the other hand, has repressed that memory, and therefore spends the entire film trying to discover what we already know. We therefore spend the entire film waiting for her to catch up with us. Yawn.

Which of these facts doesn't belong?
  1. Average critical rating: 52/100
  2. 29% positive reviews.
  3. Oscar nomination, Best Picture (foreign-language)
  4. Box Office: $29,000

I have to figure that "3" is the correct answer. How the hell did Don't Tell get a nomination? It is amazing that this film even made it into the pool to be reviewed, let alone into the slate of nominees. The Academy has many procedures to review in the next few years, and the nominating process for these foreign films should be, in my opinion, at the very top of the list. Surely America is not so dominant in filmmaking that in all the rest of the world this ordinary film could possibly be among the best five movies in an entire year. You would think that there had to be hundreds of better choices than this. Could it even have been the best Italy had to offer. Italy? The same country which produced DeSica, Visconti, Bertolucci, Fellini, Leone, and Antonioni?

Mind you, there's nothing very negative to be said about it, but there's really nothing very special or very cinematic about it either, especially given the fact that the audience is not allowed to solve the mystery along with the character. Although the film has some soap opera undertones and even a gratuitous lesbian sub-plot, there's no sensationalism. The portrayal is sensitive, classy and mature. It's also beautifully photographed ...

... but frankly, that Oscar nomination is difficult to understand. Only two demographic groups score it higher than 7.1 at IMDb: females under 18, and females over 45. Does that sound like Oscar territory to you?  This is basically an Oxygen or Lifetime movie, except that it has better production values and the characters are speaking in Italian.



  • Giovanna Mezzogiorno shows her breasts in several scenes.



Nudity early in the film, when the two filmmakers are reminiscing about their earlier films, which included the immortal faux classic, Nude Ninjas.

The Critics Vote ...


The People Vote ...

  • Box Office Mojo. It failed to attract any notice in the USA, despite the Oscar nomination. It  played in five theaters for two weeks, grossing $29,000
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C-. Is it the worst picture ever to be nominated for an Oscar? I don't know, but it's a contender.

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