Italy’s answer to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, One Kiss (Un Bacio, directed by Ivan Cotroneo) centres on gay and proud Lorenzo (Rimau Grillo Ritzberger), Blu (Valentina Romani), who is shadowed by a traumatic past, and bullied basketball player Antonio (Leonardo Pazzagli). Their shared outsider status at school draws them together. But their friendship eventually leads to conflicts and tragedy.
The film carries a quirky and flamboyant tone with some unexpected musical numbers on the side. You won’t see that the tone changes midway to something dark and just tragic until it hits you. The acting is quite raw, natural, that the level of emotional impact is quite high. The three actors managed to embody layer upon layer of character. Yes, teens are complex individuals.
One thing on the downside was the gay character. It wasn’t refreshing to relive how tragic their lives are. While Lorenzo is proud of who he is and it’s rare to have a gay character who experiences life positively in fiction, his fate left behind mixed feelings about the film’s LGBTQ portrayal.
Despite this, One Kiss is one to watch and if you’re looking for something about friendship and identity and not-your-average-teen-movie, a film that balances comedy and drama, then I recommend this film.
Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
One Kiss is screening nationally as part of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival through September and October. To find out when and where it’s screening near you, head HERE.