Written and directed by Alessandro Guida and Matteo Pilati, co-written by Giuseppe Paternò Raddusa, Antonio is a family man whose life finds an unexpected twist when he’s suddenly dumped by his husband, whom he depends on both psychologically and economically. Starring: Giancarlo Commare, Gianmarco Saurino, Carlo Calderone, Michela Giraud, Alberto Paradossi, Eduardo Valdarnini and Manuela Spartà.
Romance is always a hit and miss genre, and for good reason as it’s saturated with cheaply made, predictable and poorly acted films, but Mascarpone is none of those things. It’s the most delightful of surprises how much sincerity and depth this film manages to build, while never trying to be overly emotional or modern. Yes it does tap into dating apps and casual sex, but unlike many other films it never feels forced, it just feels relatable and realistic. The writers do a fantastic job of creating characters, especially Antonio, who it’s so easy to be drawn in by and you quickly find yourself engrossed in their lives. It does still touch upon a lot of the familiar notes of romantic cinema but it impressively always feels new. The story moves at a good pace, it doesn’t spend too much time lingering in the sadness or conflict, it keeps things pushing forward. It also makes some fantastic choices which centre around finding who you are as a person and being okay with putting yourself first sometimes.
The film kicks off on a note that almost hits your nostalgia bone because the score is so perfectly tied in with romance. The way that it moves holds a real charm to it, it’s modern but still sentimental, it’s original but doesn’t try to entirely ditch all that has come before it. Plus these filmmakers knew what they were doing by adding in the baking element, the combination of sex, baking and romance, is fairly undeniable. Alessandro Guida and Matteo Pilati’s direction captures all of that charm by creating a simple but defined style, helped by some great location choices. Some of the sets are straight out of architectural or interior decorating magazines. The whole atmosphere has a fresh touch, blending romance as we know it with a lot of relevant themes.
All of that charm would be nowhere near as realised without the wonderful cast at work in Mascarpone. Starting with Giancarlo Commare as Antonio, he’s caring, kind and slightly naïve but can also be short-sighted or selfish at times, and the personality he brings is so easily sympathetic and relatable. He creates the perfect doorway to then bring through the louder personalities of the film in Gianmarco Saurino’s Luca and Eduardo Valdarnini’s Denis, who are such lively presences and their characters go a long way to bringing Antonio out of his shell. Not to mention the superbly enjoyably sexual tension that exists between them and between many of the cast all throughout the film. It’s a really great ensemble, they have variety, heart and presence which makes the film a joy to watch.
Mascarpone is a superb example of modern romance, bringing through the everyday relatability without sacrificing genuine emotion and charm. It’s sweet and sexy, it embraces the romance but is also a nicely paced drama of Antonio finding himself after his breakup. Romance has not been a very reliable genre as of late so this is a fantastic addition because it gives you just the right balance of sentimental and touching. It’s fun and endearing, and filled with a brilliant cast who are led wonderfully by the cheeky trio of Giancarlo Commare, Gianmarco Saurino and Eduardo Valdarnini.