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Starring: Susanna Skaggs, Tobia De Angelis, Owen McDonnell, Valentina Lodovini, Saul Nanni, Anjelika Washington, Alex Boniello, Luca Seta, Claudia Stecher
OUR RATING: ★★½
Netflix romantic comedy written and directed by Brandon Camp. Love & Gelato (2022) follows Lina (Susanna Skaggs), a high school graduate, who to fulfill her mother’s final wish, spends the summer before college in Rome, where she discovers romance, adventure, and a passion for gelato.
Our Favorite Quotes:'If you're moved by something, it doesn't need explaining. If you're not, no explanation will move you. Trust your gut.' - Francesca (Love & Gelato) Click To Tweet
Lina: My mother had told me about a saying in Italy. “Il primo amore non si scorda mai.” You never forget your first love. The irony is, she never mentioned anything about love in her life, or even Italy, for that matter, until literally the last minute. Like it was all some big mystery or something. Which, it turns out, I guess, it kind of was.
Lina: So I should start at the beginning, which was anything but. My mother had laid out some of her typical crazy rules. One, being sad wasn’t allowed. Two, no one could wear black, just pumpkin spice. Her favorite color. She was so weird. And I really loved her for it. Number three, she wanted Fleetwood Mac to play. Or local cover band, Fleetwood Zach. And number four, she mandated that I still go on our mother-daughter graduation trip to Rome. I guess she went when she was my age, and she found her purpose there, or something. I asked if I could bring my best friend in the world, Addie. But she said, “No. I had to go alone.” Which is pretty much exactly how I felt.
Lina: Addie, you’ve never been to Ireland.
Addie: Uh-uh. Photoshop does not agree. You see? How cute.
Lina: Wow. That’s exactly why I don’t do social media.
Addie: Okay. Nerd. This is exactly why you don’t do anything social.
Addie: But in Italy, I mean, seriously, if you do not get on that damn plane, and then turn up with some crazy, hot, sexy Italiano, I am never speaking to you again.
Lina: Oh, well, that’s too bad because I really liked you.
Addie: Lina! You did not hook up with one guy your entire senior year!
Lina: What the hell was I supposed to do? Bring a date to chemo?
Addie: Fair enough. I suck.
Lina: It’s not that I didn’t really want to go. It’s that I didn’t want to go without her. We’d done everything together my whole life. And now, it was just me. I’d spent all of high school in denial that she’d beat it, and basically hiding. I didn’t know who the hell I was. And if it wasn’t for her “living wish”, she called it, I would have been perfectly unhappy keeping it that way.
Lina: What’s the speed limit in Italy?
Francesca: Ha! I have no limits.
Lina: I don’t feel so good.
Francesca: Oh, nothing lipstick and some makeup can’t fix. I hope.
Howard: Your mother loved wandering the ruins.
Lina: She never really talked about Italy. Until she got sick.
Howard: Well, the more wrinkles that mock you in the mirror, I suppose, the more you think about the past.
Lina: She did say that coming here changed her life. Do you know how, exactly?
Howard: Oh, Italy has a way of transforming you. I thought I was coming here to college. Twenty years later, here I still am.
Alessandro Albani: You know, the way you were looking out at our city, it was beautiful.
Lina: Well, I mean, the view is amazing.
Alessandro Albani: It really is.
Francesca: I’m running out, having a drink with a man who sings like Pavarotti, but, thankfully, does not look like him.
Hadley: [as Lina reads from the diary] There are strange sirens in the air and squawking seagulls everywhere. There’s something about this city that I can’t explain. Maybe it’s, I don’t know, the permanence of it.
Hadley: [as Lina reads from the diary] Well, Italy, I’m here, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for me. I really feel like I needed to come here. Like, maybe to see who I am away from home. Away from myself.
'The more wrinkles that mock you in the mirror, I suppose, the more you think about the past.' - Howard (Love & Gelato) Click To Tweet
Lina: [over phone] What the hell were you thinking?
Addie: [referring to Alessandro] I wasn’t thinking. Something you need to do less of. He’s hot and he’s on your profile. That’s huge.
Addie: Lina, as your brand ambassador, I find it necessary to help you convey a sense of life. Since, you know, you don’t have one!
Lina: For the record, he’s not even my type.
Addie: [referring to Alessandro] International Merit Scholar. Captain of the tennis team. Rich as hell. And Italiano! What isn’t your type, woman?
Francesca: [to Lina, as she walks in high heels] If you’re going to that party, the first lesson, maybe the only lesson for the evening is how to walk. A woman walks with purpose, dignity, and hips. Lots of hips!
Lina: [as she falls whilst trying to walk in high heels] Why can’t I just wear flats?
Francesca: Flats? Maybe you should wear Crocs.
Lina: I love Crocs.
Lina: Isn’t it like a little old-fashioned for a woman to have to wear high heels?
Francesca: Yes. Look, it’s not really about what’s on the outside. It’s about mindset. Grace, instinct, courage.
Lina: I don’t have any of those things.
Francesca: [in Italian] That’s what Italian godmothers are for.
Francesca: [to Lina] You know, I promised your mother to be a terrible influence. To help you get a little crazy, for once.
Lina: Pretty crazy as it is, thanks.
Lina: Well, when it comes to guys, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.
Francesca: Oh, darling. You lost your beautiful mother. But also so much more.
Lina: It wasn’t, her fault. I mean, when we weren’t at the hospital, all I did was study.
Francesca: Of course, my love. You want to be able to control something.
Francesca: Listen, as far as the opposite sex goes, I believe Fellini said it best. “If you’re moved by something, it doesn’t need explaining. If you’re not, no explanation will move you.” Trust your gut.
Lina: What are we doing?
Alessandro Albani: Getting into trouble. Ah, and by the way, you’re it.
'It's not really about what's on the outside. It's about mindset. Grace, instinct, courage.' - Francesca (Love & Gelato) Click To Tweet
Lina: We need to get back inside, now.
Alessandro Albani: Why? What are you so scared of?
Lina: A lot of things. Heights, for starters. Security guards. Planes. Snakes. Large crowds. You.
Lina: Do you expect me to get on that Italian death bike thing? I mean, do you know that motorcycle accidents top personal injury lawsuits by threefold?
Lorenzo Ferrazza: Is that something you just know?
Lina: Yeah. I know all kind of stats about how wrong things can go. I mean, high heels, for example, can cause Haglund’s disease, which can cripple you for life. And that’s a fact.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: Okay. So walking home seems a lot more dangerous. No?
Lina: Good point. Fine.
Lina: [as she’s riding on the back of Lorenzo’s bike] Is all of Rome this bumpy?
Lina: [referring to the pastries] Oh. Aren’t we going to eat them?
Lorenzo Ferrazza: No. Not here. Bad form.
Lina: Oh. Ah. My middle name.
Lina: I apologize if this comes out wrong, but it seems like you have a bit of a reputation.
Alessandro Albani: Yeah, maybe I do. And most of it is just people talking s**t behind my back. Even my own dad. But trust me, nobody knows me. Not really. And you seem smart enough to make up your own mind. Come on, tell me you didn’t have a good time tonight. At least until you didn’t. Because for me it was one of the best nights I’ve had in, I don’t even know how long.
Alessandro Albani: Tomorrow, twelve o’clock, at my house. I’ll send you the address. And bring a bathing suit. Okay?
Lina: No. No. A bathing suit? Do you know how many honors classes I took? Like enough not to look good in a bathing suit.
Alessandro Albani: You know what? Let me be the judge of that. You’re beautiful.
'I find love is a lot like walking. When you're young and you don't know how, you just crawl about on all fours, bumping into things, crying, a lot.' - Howard (Love & Gelato) Click To Tweet
Francesca: [to Lina] And, as far as Mr. Albani goes, have a good time. But not too good of a time.
Hadley: [as Lina reads from the diary] So, I went to a flea market today, and I bought a camera. I have this weird feeling it might completely change my life. I look through the lens and my world just goes away. And when I focus on someone, it’s like I’m seeing into them. And maybe into me too?
Lina: My mom was sick, a long time.
Alessandro Albani: Wait. What? I’m sorry.
Lina: No, no, no. It’s fine. It’s okay. The point is, I haven’t been with many guys. Any guys.
Alessandro Albani: Lina. You are different. And somehow, you make me different too. So if you want, it can just be you and me, you know? Exclusive. Like, no games, no bulls**t. And believe me, that’s not something I’ve ever…
[suddenly she kisses him]
Addie: [over phone, referring to Alessandro] Wait, what exactly happened? Exactly.
Lina: Oh, I pretty much slayed it.
Addie: Okay. Okay. Where did he put his hands? North Pole or South Pole?
Lina: Oh, God. Addie, I don’t even know. I was trying not to have a heart attack.
Fleetwood Zach: [over phone, referring to Alessandro] Post kiss, did he, you know, hold your gaze? All Chips Ahoy Chewy?
Lina: I guess.
Addie: Excellent sign.
Fleetwood Zach: For sure. Second question. Meaningful future plans?
Lina: Pretty much all day, every day.
Fleetwood Zach: It’s so romancing.
'Don't be afraid of like being you. Who cares if you don't fit into whatever crowd? Don't make excuses. Be different. Be contrario.' - Lina (Love & Gelato) Click To Tweet
Addie: [as she’s looking at Alessandro’s social media] He just hashtagged a place called Parmigiana. Checking those hashtags now.
Lina: What? What hashtags? Why?
Addie: That pasta-eating p**ck!
Alessandro Albani: [as Lina finds him on a date with another girl] I know what this looks like, but…
Lina: What this looks like is you being a lying, too good to be true liar! With zero, less than zero respect for the X chromosome. And so, yeah!
Italian Girl: [in Italian] Ale, really? You’re always such a piece of s**t.
Lina: Please! I just need a fix. Just a little bit. A little taste. Okay? I mean, your pastry, it doesn’t lie. And, and it doesn’t try to cop a feel under a pretty waterfall, you know. And it doesn’t humiliate you in front of an entire restaurant filled with people while he’s having drinks with some amazingly attractive, and hot Italian model girl, or whatever, you know? Because your pastry, it’s nice.
Baker: [as she gives Lina a bag of pastries] Because my pastry doesn’t have a p**is.
Lina: I love you, baker lady!
Howard: Thought I’d find you here amongst the ruins. Fran’s been worried sick.
Lina: Well, I just, I got kind of caught up.
Howard: Oh. Pastry kind of night, is it?
Howard: Look, I find love is a lot like walking. When you’re young and you don’t know how, you just crawl about on all fours, bumping into things, crying, you know, a lot. I speak from experience.
Howard: You can try and throw in the towel. But I find the towel has a mind of its own. All the art I work on, it’s only ever about love. Or hate, which is just love gone wrong.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: Do you like gelato?
Lina: Yeah. Yeah, I like ice cream.
Nonna Lucia: Ice cream? Is a Michelangelo a drawing? Is a Caravaggio a doodle?
Lorenzo Ferrazza: [in Italian] Nonna, calm down.
Howard: [after revealing her real father was Hadley’s professore of photography] Much as I hate to say this, Lina, you’ve, well, you’ve been better off without him. Look, I am so sorry for not telling you earlier. But your mother, She rang Fran, and for some reason, she wanted you to discover it on your own.
Alessandro Albani: Lina, you were right about not being able to trust me. Maybe because I’ve never had anyone worth trusting me, you know? I’m sorry.
Lina: My mom came here, and it was like her whole life was going to change. And then she had to give up pretty much everything she loved. Because of me.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: No. I don’t know about that. The way you talk about her, it sounds like you were everything that she loved.
Lina: Lorenzo, I’m really not in the mood.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: Yeah, that’s the point. Trust me. Everything is better after gelato.
Lina: [referring to the gelato] What the hell is the secret ingredient?
Lorenzo Ferrazza: Nonna says, “You know when you know.”
Lorenzo Ferrazza: Truffles. These are so rare. It takes like six years just for this little guy to grow.
Lina: Gross. And exposure to fungus spores can cause acute respiratory illnesses. Just so you know.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: I don’t want to know, okay? This is art.
Lina: I will take your word for it.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: [referring to Lina going to meet her father] Listen to me. You’re showing up. That’s all that matters, because if he doesn’t own it, it’s his loss to not getting to know the spectacular, goofy, soulful, full-of-joy Lina that you are.
Lina: Don’t be afraid of like being you. Who cares if you don’t fit into whatever crowd? Don’t make excuses. Be different. Be contrario. Your cooking’s that good. I mean, like on the train. I basically had a gelato orgasm because of you.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: You’re so weird.
Lina: You don’t even know.
Lina: [after her failed meeting with her father and Lorenzo’s failed audition] How do you say, “screw them. Screw all of them”?
Lorenzo Ferrazza: Screw them. Screw all of them.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: Lina, I don’t want to blow this. You and me.
Lina: I think we both were… It was a mistake. You have a girlfriend.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: I know.
Lina: I don’t live here.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: I know. It couldn’t be more messed up. But isn’t love kind of like that?
Howard: I hear you went up to Firenze.
Lina: [referring to her father] It sucked. He’s an a**hole. I’m good now.
Lina: [referring to her mother] What the hell was she thinking?
Howard: We all make mistakes. Although, you’re here. And if you weren’t, that would be the big mistake.
Francesca: [in Italian, to Howard, after Lina’s revealed she’s leaving] You let her mother leave too, and you spent the last eighteen years regretting it. I saw you stop dating other women, stop painting, stop living, because you felt responsible. I can’t spend the next eighteen years like that! Don’t you get it? Hadley didn’t send Lina here to find that coward, but to find you.
Lina: [as she opens the apartment door] Hello?
Addie: Mi scusi. Can I get directions to hot Italian boys?
Lina: What are you doing here? How did you…
Addie: “How” is right. “How” is the man.
Howard: “How” here.
Addie: Alright. I need pizza, cannolis, hot Italian boys! Stat!
Francesca: Oh, I’m going to like her.
Francesca: [in English and Italian] Look what your mother’s done. Brought us all together. A family.
Lina: And “How”.
Howard: Well, I like the sound of that.
Lina: He didn’t even have the balls to face me. My own father.
Addie: Two things I know. One, this cannoli is fire. And two, F him.
Lina: [referromg to Alessandro’s graduation party] No, I’m not going.
Addie: Hold on. Do you think I flew my a** all the way over here to not go party with a bunch of eligible Italianos, and do an opportunity for you to culturally immerse?
Addie: [referring to Lorenzo and Alessandro] Lina, you are not getting married here. Okay? Just pick one of these guys! You know? Take a plunge.
Lina: You know I don’t plunge, Addie.
Addie: Lina, when have I ever let you down? When?
Addie: Never! So if you fall, I got you.
Addie: We are about to go off in the city. I cannot wait. Cannolis. Pasta. Pizza. Boys. So many boys!
Lina: Now you’re just listing things.
Hadley: [in Italian, as Lina reads from the diary] I’ve been a complete idiot. He’s sweet, he’s kind, he’s funny, and also extremely intelligent. But he has an incredible career ahead of him in Rome, and he must stay here. There’s a tradition in Italy. If you attach a padlock to one of its bridges and throw the key into the Tiber, your love will never end. I might be letting Howard go, but I’ll keep the key, and will carry him with me forever.
Alessandro Albani: Wait. Let me guess. Addie?
Addie: Yep. Lina’s a**-kicking bodyguard, who will wreck you if you even think of skanking my girl, again. Got it? Now, where are all your hot friends at?
Alessandro Albani: Dance floor? But be gentle with them. Okay?
Lina: Alessandro, you act all wild, and crazy happy all the time, and I think we both know that that’s not true. I’m not judging, but if you’re not going where you want, how can you get anywhere with me?
Alessandro Albani: I mean, my family… It’s not easy to change things. And honestly, I don’t think that it’s fair to make that a condition for us. And I really mean us. I know what you need. To get on with your life, to forget the past. Lina, we are the same. Trust me.
Giorgia: [in Italian] This slut snuck off to Florence and hooked up with him.
Alessandro Albani: What the hell? Lorenzo?
Lina: No, that’s not true. Well, it is sort of. But not chronographically. It was a distress kiss.
Giorgia: [In Italian] Give me a break. He left because of you. God, I f***ing hate Americans!
Alessandro Albani: Don’t you get it? We are so screwed up, we are perfect together. We are the same, Lina.
Lina: That’s your sales pitch?
Lina: [referring to the bike] This is a horrible idea. Rome is like NASCAR with more yelling.
Addie: Lina. With love comes risk of compound fractures, girl. Get on. We’re doing this.
Lina: Fine. But I’m driving.
Addie: Queen energy. I love it!
Addie: [as she’s riding on the back of the bike with Lina] We’re going to die! Go straight. Go straight.
Lina: It’s a circle! How am I supposed to go straight?
Lina: This is Lorenzo. Addie, Lorenzo.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: Hi.
Addie: We almost died for you.
Lina: We really almost did.
Lina: Kissing you, or you kissing me, I’m not sure which one happened first, the point is, it wasn’t a mistake. It really wasn’t.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: So, you and I…
Lina: What I mean is, my mom helped me realize, after she died, that getting swept up in the wrong thing, or even the right thing at the wrong time, it isn’t something you can ever take back. I mean, I thought I had to make some choice between you and Alessandro. But she really wanted me to come here to find me. So, right now, I need to just choose me.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: It’s so annoying that even when you deliver really s**tty news, you still manage to be completely awesome.
Hadley: [in Italian, as Lina reads from the diary] I’m leaving today. Honestly, I’m terrified. But I’m ready. And to you, my daughter, I wish with all my heart that you’ll live your life to the fullest, and bravely, like a true Italian woman.
Lina: [in Italian] I will try, Mom.
Hadley: [in Italian] So thanks, Italy. You gave me a new life, and a new purpose. I will never forget you, my first true love. For you.
Lina: I think I know now why she never really dated anyone. She’d already met the one.
[she gives Howard Hadley’s padlock, which has their names on it]
Howard: [after Lina’s told him she’s staying in Italy] Lina, if being a father is just biological, then… But if it means worrying incessantly, illogically, about you, wanting only the absolute best for you, thinking of ways to physically damage guys who want to date you, then I would really like it if you would consider me your adopted dad.
Lina: Thanks, Dad.
Lina: I could never have realized that my mother’s living wish would give me a new life too. A year later, it’s not that I’ve got it all figured out. But I’m okay with that, for once in my life. Because I also found something in Italy, in an old camera, from a crazy godmother, with a real father, and for myself. You were right, Mom. “Il primo amore non si scorda mai.”
Lorenzo Ferrazza: [in Italian, after they run into each other and Lina falls over] Are you okay?
Lina: [in Italian] Yes. Some things clearly never change.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: [in Italian] Good. I like you the way you are.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: [in Italian] Listen, Nonna is making dinner tonight. She made her gelato. Want to come? We’ll have to take my Italian death bike.
Lina: [in Italian] I’m sorry, Lorenzo. No.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: Okay.
Lina: [in Italian] We’ll have to take mine.
Lina: [in Italian] By the way, I figured out the secret ingredient.
Lorenzo Ferrazza: [in Italian] Better late than never.
[we then see them ride past a goat]