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The Best of Youth is a six-hour-long Italian epic that crosses from the 1960s to the 2000s. It is about two brothers, Matteo and Nicola, who break a young girl out of a mental ward, only for her to be recaptured. This affects the rest of the boys' lives, as Matteo joins the army and Nicola becomes a hippie, then gets married and has a daughter. But his wife leaves him, and becomes an extremist.
Despite having a girlfriend of his own, Matteo becomes increasingly depressed and things get worse from there. The film ends on a redemptive note.
- Aloof Older Brother: Matteo.
- Brother Chuck: Nicola and Carlo have another friend who goes on the trip with them after college, and Nicola has two True Companions (outside his regular family) at the end of the movie, one of which is Carlo. There is never any mention of the other friend who accompanied Nicola and Carlo.
- Epic Film: Six hours of action that spans 40 years...
- Establishing Character Moment: The first scene, where Matteo and Nicola's father asks them for help moving a television set. Matteo refuses, on the basis that he's swamped with homework, but Nicola immediately agrees, saying he needs a break. This moment makes both characters' personalities very clear.
- Generation Xerox: Surprisingly well done; Matteo's son looks just like him, but is clearly played by a different actor.
- The Ophelia: Giorgia.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Nicola is red to Matteo's blue.
- Those Two Guys: Carlo and Vitale.