Netflix’s latest book-to-screen venture is Love and Gelato and, well, it might not be one of the best ones out there. Written and directed by Brandon Camp, the film is based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name by author Jenna Evans Welch. The romantic comedy has a runtime of 112 minutes.
Love and Gelato stars Susanna Skaggs as Lina Emerson, who is essential our protagonist. Alongside her, we have Owen McDonnell as Howard, Anjelika Washington as Addie, Alex Boniello as Fleetwood Zach, Valentina Lodovini as Francesca, Tobia De Angelis as Lorenzo Ferrazza along with Tera Hendrickson, Saul Nanni, Michele Favaro, Marie-France Arcilla, Cristiano Piacenti, Jacopo Relucenti, Claudia Stecher, Luca Seta and Antonio Landi.
Netflix’s Love and Gelato Review Does Not Contain Spoilers
Love and Gelato: Another Stereotypical Love Story On the Roll
As a book, Love and Gelato seemed to have catered to most of the readers’ YA tastes. It is fun, goofy, sweet and feel-good. It has its own set of romantic endeavours as well as tropes of self-discovery that has been appealing enough to make it a bestseller too. However, on-screen the story seems to lose its ingenuity that the book was so careful about.
Lina Emerson is the prototype of every awkward, nerdy girl in a romantic comedy with her sassy, cheerful best friend and unique love for gelato. The story revolves around Lina taking a trip to Rome. A solo trip to Rome is what Lina promised her mother on her deathbed and, although she is socially extremely awkward to put herself forward, she takes the risk to fulfil her mother’s last wish (who had also taken this trip for herself before college and wanted Lina to experience the same).
However, Lina’s trip is, of course, different from that of her mother’s. Although she uses her mother’s journal as a guide for the city and lives under the roof of her mother’s best friend, Lina’s experience in the strange, beautiful land helps her open and embrace herself as she simultaneously also discovers things about her mother she was not aware of.
From trying to find her father and knowing about the past her mother had but never shared to being in a complicated love triangle, Lina finds herself charmed, messed and yet, thriving for more in Netflix’s Love and Gelato.
Yes, the film, sure does sound promising. But, unfortunately, it is not. Not only is the film starkly different from the book be it the backdrop (which was Florence in the book, not Rome) or the narrative, but it is also too stereotypical for anybody’s taste at this point. As a romantic comedy follows the test book trope of a clumsy adolescent who has never been in love, falling head of heels on her path of self-discovery.
Talking about self-discovery, this is a theme on which the book thrived and shined. Somewhere in its adaptation, the theme seems lost in translation. It does not help that the actors are lethargic in their delivery and, yes, maybe it is just Anjelika Washington and Tobia De Angelis who bring that chemistry to the screen to keep you interested and engaged.
The plot is strategic to keep Lina’s romantic interest hidden and guessing but, if you are an avid romantic comedy buff, the title itself will give away where our protagonist is heading.
Despite all the complaints that Love and Gelato brings to the screen, director Brandon Camp makes sure to make full use of the setting Rome as the story’s background with picturesque shots and helping people connect with one another through food (an essential part of the Italian culture).
Love and Gelato: Final Verdict
Overall, Love and Gelato is a decent rom-com watch. It isn’t special or different. But, it is enough to let you escape the monotony of life. It is hopeful and inspiring in certain ways and beautiful with its cinematography. Maybe the element of love falls short often but, it still tries to rise above the average. Our only expectation is, wish it tried harder.
You can watch Love and Gelato now on Netflix.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.