Netflix’s The Hand of God (È stata la mano di Dio) is an Italian language film that serves as a memoir of Paolo Sorrentino’s own teenage years. The film thoroughly narrates the personal experiences of a calm and observant Fabietto aspiring to become a filmmaker after a tragedy dismantles his life.
Set in 1980, the story kicks off in Naples with Patrizia (Luisa Ranieri) waiting for a bus when she is offered a ride by a man claiming to be San Gennaro. He ensures her he can help her conceive a child. Patrizia, whose only desire is to have a child of her own accepts it and meets the “Little Monk” who is widely known to bless people with fortune.
Patrizia and her husband, (Massimiliano Gallo) engage in a fight as she arrives late. Patrizia calls in her sister, Maria (Teresa Saponangelo) to help solve the distressing argument. Fabietto (Filippo Scotti) is introduced coming into the rescue with his mother Maria and father, Saverio (Toni Servillo). All three cling tightly to each other as they ride a motorbike along the seaside.
Fabietto also has an elder brother Marchino (Marlon Joubert) who has a passion for acting and a sister, Danielle, who enjoys spending all her time in the bathroom. The family rejoices their time with their close relatives along the seaside.
While enjoying their boat ride, Fabietto catches a glimpse of a cigarette smuggler, Armando (Biagio Manna) being chased by the police, whom he later became friends with. Both Patrizia and Fabietto sincerely empathize with each other.
We get short glimpses of the wholesome family of Fabietto with adoring parents. The whole neighbourhood has a common connection which is soccer. It is still uncertain whether the legend, Maradona will play for Napoli in the Italian Championship.
If you still have doubts about the ending, here’s a full breakdown of what inspired Fabietto to become an aspiring filmmaker.
The Hand of God ending explained in detail:
Fabietto is an observant kid. He loves his family dearly and preserves all the precious family moments. The whole neighbourhood watches the soccer matches together and rejoices as Maradona plays for Napoli.
Fabietto’s father, Saverio deeply loves his wife Maria. But, he is entangled in an affair with his colleague and is unable to end it due to complexities.
Maria is upset. This creates tension in the Schisa family and Fabietto is deeply affected by his mother’s unhappiness. Marchino calms him down.
Fabietto doesn’t have friends and wants to celebrate his birthday with his whole family which becomes challenging. Fabietto visits his father’s office and his father takes him to Piazzetta Serao where he first met Maria and was enchanted by her beauty.
At home, Fabietto sits with his mother and they talk about his fond childhood memories. He also tells his mother about his desire to study philosophy after high school. He earnestly desires for his parents to solve their dispute and live cheerfully.
The tension resolves and Fabietto’s parents visit their newly made home. His parents enjoy their time while moving furniture to their new home in Roccaraso. Fabietto stays back at their old home to watch Maradona’s game that day.
Unfortunately, due to a carbon monoxide leak in their new home, both his parents die. Marchino and Fabietto rush to the hospital in Roccaraso only to hear the heartbreaking news. While Marchino cries his heart out, Fabietto is shocked.
Fabio becomes violent as he wants to see his parent’s dead bodies while the doctor suggests otherwise as none of their faces is recognizable anymore. Marchino tightly embraces his brother and calms him down.
At the funeral, Alfredo (Renato Carpentieri) asserted that Maradona saved Fabietto and used the famous phrase of “The Hand of God” when the latter stated that he stayed back for the game of Maradona at Napoli.
The world of cinema
An aspiring actor, Marchino gets rejected in an audition for a film. When Fabietto asks him about his experience, Marchino discusses a conversation the director, Fellini had with a journalist on call. The conversation entails that cinema is a distraction from reality and that reality is lousy.
On his birthday, Fabietto visits a film set. The film is being directed by a renowned director, Antonio Capuano. He also becomes fascinated by a theatre actor, Julia.
After his parent’s death, his sister Danielle tells him about the reason his father couldn’t end the affair with his colleague as they had a step-brother. Fabietto visits his aunt Patrizia at a psychiatric hospital and talks about his desire to be a film director to her. Patrizia supports him.
She talks about how she got pregnant on the day of the fight with her husband but later had a miscarriage. She was so heartbroken that she herself wanted to be admitted to the hospital.
Fabietto finally cries for the first time in the street football ground after his parent’s death. He watches Julia’s play to understand more about cinema. One such night, he meets Armando who takes him on a boat ride to Capri and they finally become friends.
Armando is imprisoned in the cigarette smuggling case. Fabietto talks about how lonely he is as an orphan. Armando helps Fabietto develop a new outlook on life. He talks about the goodness of freedom.
Fabietto wants to build his life from the ruins and become a filmmaker. He bids farewell to his brother, Marchino.
In the making
He meets the director, Antonio Capuano in one of Julia’s plays. A disinterested Capuano tells him to leave. Fabietto lingers and talks about his desire to produce films and learn the art.
On being asked about the urge to his desire, Fabietto talks about his disintegrated life without his parents. He states how he wants an imaginary life because he is frustrated by the devastating reality.
Filmmaking is the only way he can build an imaginary world for him, crafted with his ideas and desires. He wants to make films even though he knows little about it.
Capuano accepts his offer and proposes to Fabietto that they would together make films in the beautiful city of Naples. Fabietto leaves for Rome while Napoli win the championship. Fabietto catches a glimpse of the “Little Monk” waving him goodbye.