New York never looked so claustrophobic, so cold and so unsettling as in Saverio Costanzo’s eerie tour de force, Hungry Hearts, based on the Italian novel Il bambino indaco. Jude (Adam Driver) and Mina (Alba Rohrbacher) meet somewhat cute in the, yes, claustrophobic restroom of an Asian restaurant. And that’s the last cute thing that happens between them. They fall passionately in love and soon get married and have a child who immediately becomes the center of their universe. Jude and Mina don’t seem to have many friends, and Jude has a troubled relationship with his mother, seemingly the only person who attempts to visit her grandson.
Mina, a pale, waifish Italian expat, also seems to be on a life course all on her own. She visits a storefront psychic who tells her that their son is an “indigo child,” a baby who is destined to bring peaceful change to the world. These babies must be protected from impurities in every aspect of their lives. Mina, already a vegan, begins to filter out even more things from the child’s diet to the point where he becomes malnourished and in a state of arrested growth. Jude is freaking out, but Mina is tone deaf to the warning signs from doctors and Jude’s mother, who is discouraged from visiting.
But nothing stops Mina in her headlong quest, the clashes eventually leading to a tragic conclusion. Strong peformances make this intense, suspenseful drama an unforgettable experience. Saverio Costanzo, since his first film, the multi-awarded Private, has proved himself to be a master as a subtle interpreter of human nature.