Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Love & Gelato: Movie Review

Cute and annoying.
Another one of Netflix’s ‘An American girl must travel to a foreign country to find herself and fall in love.’ This time it’s Italy. Lina (Susanna Skaggs) is one of your super smart teen girls who know more about school than boys, the type of character that can exist outside of movies, but not this one; Lina is just way too pretentious. She also takes her mother’s dying wish too literally.   2022

Directed by: Brandon Camp

Screenplay by: Brandon Camp

Starring: Susanna Skaggs, Owen McDonnell

Lina’s mother passed away from cancer after her high school graduation. They planned to go to Italy together, but now Lina must go on her own. As Lina tells us in narration, she asked her mother if she could take her best friend Addie with her, but her mother said no. She, an 18-year-old girl who has spent all her free time in books, must travel to a foreign country on her own. Her mother was obviously high on pain killers, and she should have been smart enough to realize that she didn’t have to take her dying wish so literally. Off she goes to Italy, alone and miserable.

Lina’s mother has also refused to tell her who her father was and sent her on a scavenger hunt with her old diary. And she sent her to stay with her old friend who she had lived with for a semester once almost twenty years ago. This mother is just a whirlwind of bad choices, and the film can’t decide if this is being presented as comedy or drama. Comedy would be the obvious right answer, and yet more often than not, the film picks melodrama to tell this tale.

Love & Gelato is a perfectly cute story, but the movie constantly picks wrong tones and bad messages. Fran forces Lina to wear high heels and explains it’s not an old form of sexism but displaying your inner confidence – sure, if you want to, but Lina doesn’t want to. Lina somehow goes from falling over in her only lesson in how to wear heels to running in them an hour later. This is where she meets two boys: Alessandro (Saul Nanni), the hot bad boy from a rich family; and Lorenzo (Tobia De Angelis), the cute, poor nice guy. I was rooting for the hot bad boy despite the fact the film was obviously angling for the nice guy, something has gone terribly wrong when I just can't get onboard with the protagonist.

The film manages to set themselves up with the no-win. Either she picks the bad boy and then they literally have the nice guys finish last storyline which has no place in fictional romantic movies. Or, she throws temper tantrums because she refuses to listen to Alessandro explain himself, and then has to go end up with the nice guy because there was no where else for the movie to go.

The melodrama at the beginning with Lina whining about not knowing her father is pretty annoying, but that’s the one storyline that plays out really well. No spoilers, but Lina and her new-found father have a really sweet, touching and adorable resolution. The other good choice is that it was actually filmed in Italy. Each scene and each leg of the diary scavenger hunt has a nice and picturesque Italian setting.

Love & Gelato is definitely on the annoying side of Netflix’s foreign romances thanks to the over-abundance of melodrama masquerading as quirky, but it’s not without its fair share of nice and sweet moments over-looking the very picturesque parts of Italy.

Similar Titles:

  Along for the Ride - Light-weight drama and slow-burn romance.

  The Mystery of Her - Sweet and uncomplicated.

  Backpackers - Come for the romance, stay for the scenery and then go look up trips to Peru.

  Falling Inn Love - Cheap ploys, nice romance.