Letterboxd (3.5/5), Imdb.com (7/10), TMDB.com (3.5/5)
Old friends long separated are said to have a deeply rooted connection to one another that allows them to pick up where they left off no matter how long they’ve been apart. The same is arguably true for those who were once romantically linked but have been on their own for some time. And that heartwarming sentiment comes to life loud and clear in this touching but bittersweet new Italian love story about two young men (Andrea Di Luigi, Damiano Gavino) who meet in passing and briefly fall madly for one another, only to be separated by unforeseen circumstances not long thereafter. With no way to contact one another, they thus lose touch and go their separate ways, but their unspoken mutual passion never dissipates, as becomes apparent over the next 30 years until another chance encounter unexpectedly reunites them. But what are they to do then – pursue their hearts’ desire or remain committed to the new lives they’ve created for themselves? Those surrogate existences don’t possess the same passion as what they’ve held in their hearts for each other for so long, but can they realistically walk away from what they’ve built? In many ways, writer-director Ferzan Özpetek’s latest has a robust streak of romantic universality running through it, one whose essence extends beyond the scope of the LGBTQ+ community and effectively embodies the overarching notion that love is love, no matter what one’s sexual orientation might be. It’s also intriguing to note that the picture’s various segments poignantly echo elements of Italian culture and cinema that were in vogue during each of the time frames in which those sequences are set, capturing the look and feel of the periods ranging from the late 1970s to the present day. What’s more, the lives of the lovelorn partners are nicely supplemented by an array of colorful supporting players, giving the narrative a degree of depth and diversity that doesn’t place the story’s entire emphasis on the protagonists’ pining away for one another. In all, this is an ideal date night movie that lovers who are truly in love will be able to appreciate and enjoy. Sensitive viewers should be forewarned that there are a few explicit sexual sequences in this offering, but, given that this is a Netflix streaming release, that likely shouldn’t pose a problem for those watching in the comfort of their own homes (or bedrooms). Time and space may separate us, but they can’t take away what’s in our hearts, as “Nuovo Olimpo” so eloquently shows.