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Photo: ‘Under The Amalfi Sun’
When sitting at home on any given evening with nothing to do, nowhere to be, and no other shows to binge, one might scour the handful of streaming services to find a film that seems as if it’ll provide a pleasant experience to the viewer. They might find it on HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, or any other platform, but eventually, they’ll find it. That film may not necessarily be perfect, it may even have a handful of problems with its characters and writing, but it checks enough boxes to give the viewer a decent and relaxing ninety-plus minutes. Its vibe, tone, and aesthetic are the main appeals of the film as opposed to the structural components such as story and character.
‘Under the Amalfi Sun’ is one of those films. The new Italian Netflix rom com is a sequel to 2020’s ‘Under the Riccione Sun’ and is directed by Martina Pastori with the script being written by Caterina Salvadori, Enrico Vanzina, and Ciro Zecca. The film stars Lorenzo Zurzolo, Ludovica Martino, Davide Calgaro, Isabella Ferrari, Kyshan Wilson and Luca Ward.
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Amalfi Steals the Show
As alluded to, the streaming film’s biggest strength is arguably it’s aesthetic. As the title implies, the film takes place in Amalfi, a small town on the coast of Italy. The story mainly follows Vincezo, a blind man about to be twenty, who is reunited with his girlfriend Camilla as the two plan to spend a few days in his father’s home in Amalfi. Also joining them are Furio, Vincenzo’s best friend whose goal is to up his dating game, Camilla’s friend Nathalie who simply wants to enjoy her vacation with her friend, and Hans, Vincenzo’s close friend in Amalfi.
The majority of the movie follows the gang as they enjoy their vacation and participate in various activities across the city. The film certainly makes the best of its location as the various shots of Amalfi as well as the color, sound, set pieces, music, and outfits immerse the viewer in this environment and showcase the best of the town. This gives the viewer exactly what they look for in a film such as this. Amalfi, in a way, carries the whole almost entirely on its own. This film would likely not have been an enjoyable watch if the exact same story with the exact same characters was centered in a place like Los Angeles (not a knock at fellow Angelinos).
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‘Under The Amalfi Sun’ – A Story That Sometimes Works
The story has a lot that does work. Whenever we are with Vincenzo, Camilla, and their group, there is enough to enjoy. Vincenzo’s blindness obviously becomes a focal point to the plot and overall theme about being with someone who may seem like they have different desires and needs than you, but really doesn’t. The subplots surrounding Furio’s pursuits as well as Nathalie’s relationship with Hans are also positive additions to the overall story. Some of the other characters with smaller roles felt a bit on-the-nose or too phony to buy into, such as Rebecca, one of the women Furio seeks to win over. Thankfully, her presence in the film was not a major one and the actress playing her did the best she could have done to make this character palatable. Other storylines feel a bit too predictably resolved. They would have benefitted from adding one twist or another to them, just to make the resolution somewhat more engaging than it actually was.
However, perhaps the biggest area of weakness in the narrative is the subplot surrounding Vincenzo’s mom and her boyfriend. Whenever the film cuts to them, the film immediately slows down and makes it very easy for the viewer to zone out. The whole presence of Vincenzo’s dad felt unnecessary and could have easily been cut out. As a matter of fact, this whole subplot could have easily been cut out. There are moments that work, particularly one scene between Vincenzo and his mom’s boyfriend. But ultimately, the film would have benefited far more without this element and would have probably allowed the story around Vincenzo and his friends to work even better by giving it more time to develop in a more believable yet less predictable way.
The performances across the board were effective at bringing each of the characters to life. Lorenzo Zurzolo did a fantastic job at playing a blind guy who just wants to do everything else that other young adults do and knows he can without having other people watch over his every step. Davide Calgaro was also fun to watch as Furio. He made it enjoyable to watch this character fumble and trip up when trying to up his Instagram game or trying to impress a number of different women at the same time. Kyshan Wilson’s job Nathalie also worked really well. The reason for this was probably because she got to play a character very familiar to audiences, that being someone who just wants to enjoy their vacation and their young adult life. She was also given something of backstory that made her sympathizable enough to the viewer.
Even some of the weaker characters, who did not necessarily have a place in the film or were one-dimensional whenever on screen, had solid performances behind them. As mentioned earlier, Rebecca, one of the women whom Furio attempts to attract oftentimes comes off as the most over-the-top and phony Instagram model who lacks respect for others. Obviously, characters like this actually exist, but this character felt like someone out of a Disney Channel show. However, she was almost palpable in the film due to the efforts of the actress playing her, Elena Funari. The performances, the overall vibe, and a majority of the story as well as most of the characters involved make ‘Under the Amalfi Sun’ an enjoyable enough watch for anyone struggling to stop scrolling across Netflix.
Cast: Lorenzo Zurzolo, Ludovica Martino, Davide Calgaro, Isabella Ferrari, Kyshan Wilson, Luca Ward, Elena Funari
Written by: Caterina Salvadori, Enrico Vanzina, Ciro Zecca
Directed by: Martina Pastori
By Nader Chamas
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Nader Chamas is an aspiring television writer who seeks to fuse thought provoking progressive ideals into the films, shows, and stories that he loves. Having graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Screenwriting, Nader seeks to use his writing to advance causes that do not get enough attention or input across mainstream media. Like most, Nader has his own share of his favorite franchises and stories across pop culture. However, he seeks to contribute timely and relevant topics into these stories as well as in his own original material. This is why Nader’s analysis of popular films and tv shows matches The Hollywood Insider’s practice of discussing entertainment from a socially cognizant and critical perspective.