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‘From Scratch’ Review: A Love Story in Flames

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If you are looking for a Netflix drama to fill up your heart with love and then completely shatter it, watch “From Scratch” immediately.

This limited series based on Tembi Locke’s memoir of the same name, follows Amy (Zoe Saldaña), an American going to study art in Italy while on a gap year from Georgetown Law. Her life quickly gets flipped upside down as she not only falls in love but also discovers her true passion along the way.

Admittedly, Amy’s background could have been explored in more detail: The events that led to her leaving law school are not addressed very clearly, and viewers are not truly ever shown why she is so passionate about art either. However, these unanswered questions about Amy’s past do not take away from Saldaña's portrayal of Amy's ambition and grace.

Upon her arrival to Italy, Amy quickly becomes torn over two different lovers, but eventually chooses to be with an Italian cook named Lino. Although the development of their relationship moves at a very fast pace, it is impossible not to love their love. The series has an emotional plot that, combined with the actors’ amazing performance and chemistry, makes it insanely captivating for any viewer. Lino and Amy’s life together is painted as the perfect love story. But as quickly as their love for each other grows, their new life falls into shambles as Lino’s health begins to decline.

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Despite the beauty of Amy and Lino's romance, the rapid pace of the series ultimately detracts from its story and character development. The show zooms through Amy and Lino’s life together, thus losing the minor details that make the story feel more personal and emotional to viewers. The lack of depth just causes viewers to feel more disconnected from Amy and Lino, and less invested in the plot, despite the show’s emotional subject matter.

Originally, Lino’s parents do not approve of his decision to be with Amy or to move to the United States with her. In conjunction with Amy’s parents constantly questioning Lino’s ability to provide for Amy, Lino definitely has to make larger sacrifices to make their relationship work. However, Lino’s sorrow seems to become the center of the series, as his health decays right after his family situation is resolved. It would have been beneficial to let his character thrive after this hardship, rather than piling more difficulties onto him.

The series gets quite predictable due to the endless negativity surrounding Lino, and at some point the viewers just want things to work out for him. It is unclear whether the purpose of this plot was more than to tug at the audience’s heartstrings. In combination with the pacing of the plot, it is strenuous to find the larger meaning within Amy and Lino’s story together.

But when their life was good, it was beautiful. They become part of each other's families, and although they come from two extremely different locations in the world, they complement each other perfectly. It should not be discounted how loveable the characters are in this drama: Viewers should root for all of them every moment throughout their eight-episode journey. It is impossible not to want a happy ending for this series due to the amount of trauma the families experience. This show will definitely leave you wanting more, and hopefully there is more to come.

Until then, for any viewer looking for a show to build their hopes up then destroy them in the best way possible, “From Scratch” is the perfect choice.

—Staff Writer Hailey E. Krasnikov can be reached at hailey.krasnikov@thecrimson.com.

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