This Netflix Love & Gelato movie review contains spoilers.
Netflix’s Love & Gelato is a young adult story that follows a young woman, Lina (Susanna Skaggs from Halt & Catch Fire). She is entering an exciting period of her life. She just graduated from high school and was accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). However, she had some tough times. His mother has just died of an illness. Besides having everyone dressed in the color of pumpkin spice at her funeral, she has one last wish. Take her daughter to Rome before she goes to school. Helping her out of her shell is her best friend, Addie (Anjelika Washington).
Lina is the shy and anxious type. The kind of girl who loves books too much for her own good and would rather read about life than live it. Upon arrival, Lin meets her mother’s cousin, the uninhibited Francesca (Valentina Lodovini). She introduces her to her mother’s old friend, Howard (Owen McDonnell of Killing Eve). Francesca gives Lina a diary kept by her mother, which is also part of her last wishes. While the diary could have been read overnight, Lina takes a little a day (I mean, how else could the story be spread out over 90 minutes?).
From there, she meets two guys – Alessandro (Saul Nanni) with dreamy eyes. He is a young man from a wealthy family who cannot live up to his father’s expectations. The other is sweet Lorenzo (Tobia De Angelis), who dreams of becoming a professional chef.
You can guess the plot from there. Writer and director Brandon Camp (Love Happens, Dragonfly) adapted the New York Times bestseller by Jenna Evans Welch. Having never read the source material, it’s admittedly hard to blame the story inconsistencies and overall plot. There’s also the problem of a male suitor who screams a potential sexual predator in the making (we’ll discuss that later). For one, there are small, minor details that get overlooked. For example, Lin has a spilled dish on the front of her dress, but there is no stain in the following scenes. You have, in general, the story that boils down to Lin’s mother’s true intentions not ringing true.
Why would her mother want Lin to go through a period of great stress in her life? When she got pregnant at a young age and the father wanted nothing to do with her? Natural experience would want more for her or protect her. At the very least, while she would never regret having Lina, she wouldn’t want to put her in this position. However, she wants her to experience the same carefree summer? Maybe meet her father, who wants nothing to do with her? The risks do not outweigh the spoils. The final manipulative twist is to pair her with a man as a father figure she never had. To expect someone, a man, to be an adoptive father figure to a girl with no emotional attachment for 18 years is stretching reality pretty thin.
Then there’s the character of Alessandro, who becomes more empowered and manipulative by the scene to get what he wants from Lin, which is physical and emotional intimacy. He turns her on every step of the way, saying he wants a committed relationship after brief meetings and cheats on her the next day. This is the type of character that is disabled and should send immediate red flags for any young lady.
That being said, Lorenzo’s story has a certain Love & Gelato charm and carefree spirit that makes the movie easy because it’s so light and flowing. It may be cliché, but the nerdy, anxious girl with her nose in a book is a trope, but a classic. And Susana Skaggs does what the role asks of her. She has a quality and a “look” that I would compare to the young Amy Adams. It’s endearing. The same goes for her romance with Lorenzo, both of whom are charming enough to keep you interested in the story.
It’s a small production, so I know there must be limits, but the secret weapon for a film like this is not just capturing the sights and sounds of Rome, but the food. Although there is a large dinner scene, it could have been a visual treat for the eyes and generally plays well for the audience. It could have been used to build up the romance and chemistry you benefit from a bit. Precisely when Lorenzo and Lin briefly brew Gelato together and we meet the young man’s adorable grandmother.
It’s these dinner scenes that I wish the film would use more to transform the characters into three-dimensional human beings and relationships. And it’s a disarming way to build communication (think movies like Waitress, Chocolateand an underrated YA movie, The Hundred Foot Journey). I have no doubt that Love & Gelato will do well with the young adult crowd, it was a solid effort that was entertaining at times, but the goofy plot and unfortunate love triangle are too much to ignore.
Love & Gelato is bad for you, even if it goes down smoothly and a bit too easily.
What did you think of the Netflix movie Love & Gelato? Comments below.
You can watch this movie with a Netflix subscription.
The post Love & Gelato review – bad for you, but goes down smooth appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.