This review of the Netflix film Love & Gelato contains spoilers.
Netflix Love & Gelato is a young adult story that follows a young woman, Lina (Stop & Catch Fire Susanna Skaggs). He started a great time in his life. He had just graduated from high school and was accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). However, he was having a hard time. His mother had just died after being sick. Apart from having everyone wear pumpkin-colored spices at his funeral, he had one last request. For her daughter to go to Rome before she leaves for school. Helping her out of her shell is her best friend, Addie (Anjelika Washington).
Lina is the shy and anxious type. The type of girl who is too good at reading books for her own good and who would rather read about life than live it. When he arrives, Lin meets his mother’s cousin, Francesca without a hitch (Valentina Lodovini). He introduced him to his mother’s old friend Howard (Killing Eve Owen McDonnell). Francesca gives Lina a journal that her mother keeps, which is also part of her last wish. While the diary could be read in one night, Lina took quite a bit per day (I mean, how else could the story be laid out for more than 90 minutes?).
From there, she meets two men — the dreamy-eyed Alessandro (Saul Nanni). He was a young man from a rich family who could not live up to his father’s expectations. The other is the 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) adapts the New York Times bestseller by Jenna Evans Welch. Having never read the source material, it’s hard to fault the general story and plot inconsistencies. There’s also the issue of one of the male suitors screaming potential sexual predators (we’ll get to that later). For one, there are tiny little details that are overlooked. For example, Lin has a spilled plate on the front of her dress, but there is no stain in the next scene. You have, in general, stories that boil down to mother Lin’s true intentions that don’t sound right.
Why did her mother want Lin to have such a great stressful time in her life? When she got pregnant at a young age, and her father didn’t want anything to do with her? Natural experience will want more for him or protect him. At the very least, although he would never regret having Lina, he didn’t want to put her in that position. However, he wanted her to have the same carefree summer? Maybe meet his father, who wouldn’t want to be associated with him? The risk does not exceed the loot. The final manipulative touch is to pair her with a man as the father figure she never had. Expecting someone, a man, to be a foster father figure to a girl with no emotional attachments for 18 years is a very slim reality.
Then, there is the character of Alessandro who is increasingly entitled and manipulative with scenes to get what he wants from Lin, namely physical and emotional intimacy. He turned it on at every step, saying he wanted a committed relationship after a brief encounter and cheating on him the next day. This is the type of character who is turned off and should immediately send a red flag to any young woman.
Even so, Lorenzo’s storyline has a certain charm and carefree spirit Love & Gelato which makes the film easy to drop as it is very light and smooth. It may be a cliché, but the nerdy and anxious girl whose nose is in the books is a trope, but a classic. And Susana Skaggs did what the role asked of her. She has qualities and “appearance” that I can compare to a young Amy Adams. That’s charming. So is her romance with Lorenzo, both of whom are charming enough to make you care about the story.
It’s a small production, so I know it has its limits, but the secret weapon for a film like this is not just capturing the sights and sounds of Rome but also the food. While there is one big dinner scene, it can be a visual feast for the eyes and generally plays well for the audience. This can be used to cultivate the romance and chemistry that you get a little bit of. Precisely when Lorenzo and Lin briefly stirred Gelato together and when we met the boy’s adorable grandmother.
It’s a dinner scene that I wish the film had used more to develop characters into human beings and three-dimensional relationships. And it’s a disarming way to build communication (think movies like Waiter, Chocolateand underrated YES movies, A Hundred Feet Journey). I don’t doubt that Love & Gelato would do well with young adults, it’s a solid effort that’s entertaining at times, but the whacky plot and hapless love triangle are too much to ignore.
Love & Gelato bad for you, even if it goes down smoothly and a bit too easily.
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