By Daniele Foti-Cuzzola
Naples, the home of pizza, pasta fazu and as Dean Martin famously crooned – amore (love), takes centre stage in Director Gianluca Ansanelli’s hilarious romantic comedy, From Naples with Love (Troppo Napoletano).
The charming family friendly film celebrates love among all ages and is in itself a love letter to Ansanelli’s own birth city, Naples.
Eleven year old Ciro (Gennaro Guazzo) doesn’t fit in at the fancy private school his long-absent famous rock-star father has forced him to attend.
Instead he feels at home in the poor area of Naples where he lives with his doting single mother, Barbara (Serena Rossi) and his large extended family.
But Ciro’s life changes when he falls in love with his sophisticated classmate Ludovica. Lovesick, Ciro loses his appetite to the horror of his mother who enlists him to see a psychologist, Tommaso.
Determined to win over Ludovica and seeing a potential romance between his mother and Tommaso, Ciro makes a deal that if Tommaso (Luigi Esposito) can help him win over Ludovica he’ll teach Tommaso how to be a true Neapolitan and win over his mother.
Young Gennaro Guazzo is hilarious as Ciro. The young actor perfectly encapsulates the big, lively, passionate personalities one normally associates with Neapolitans and his unlikely friendship with the more subdued Tommaso is both heart-warming and funny. The duo have many hilarious scenes as Ciro quizzes him on his love for Neapolitan music, pizza, basil and coffee.
Singer turned actress Serena Rossi also steals the show as Ciro’s loving yet overbearing mother, Barbara; who catches the eye of many of the local men but is hilariously oblivious as her only focus is her son.
Rossi delivers an earthy and vivacious performance which is reminiscent to the star making performances of Italian icons Sophia Loren and Gina Lollabrigida, who often played such equally headstrong and charming Neapolitan women.
Instead of creating two dimensional caricatures, the cast deliver endearing and heartfelt performances that celebrate the liveliness of the Neapolitan people and would remind anyone about that one time they travelled to Naples.
Ansanelli does not only celebrate the vivacious Neapolitan culture, but also celebrates the beauty of the chaotic yet charming city itself. In one heart-warming scene, street-smart Ciro takes Ludovica on an excursion around his beloved hometown.
Despite their differences in social class, Ciro holds his head up high and is proud to show off what his beautiful home has to offer, and is ecstatic when the preppy Ludovica also appreciates its charm.
Despite being a romantic comedy, From Naples with Love is a film the whole family can enjoy. The slapstick comedy and hilarious cast of characters will keep the young ones entertained, while older viewers will also be able to appreciate the stunning scenery and the punchy one-liners. And the film has an important message for all, that the best version of ourselves, is when we are being our true selves.
From Naples with Love is showing as part of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival, which is showing at Cinema Paradiso and Luna on SX till October 11. Thanks to Anarchy PR, The Record is giving away a double pass to this year’s festival. To enter, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what you love most about Italy, along with your name and postal address.