Review: A Quintet of Tasty Actors Whip 'Mascarpone' into Creamy Perfection

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday October 10, 2021

'Mascarpone'  (Source:Reeling)

When Antonio (Giancarlo Commare) is abruptly told by his long-time husband Lorenzo (Carlo Calderone) that Lorenzo loves someone else and their marriage is over, his entire life is thrown into a tailspin — not least because Antonio has lapsed into the life of (as one character puts it early in the film) a "trophy wife."

Such is the starting point for Antonio's charming, poignant, and truthful personal journey in "Mascarpone," from co-directors Alessandro Guida and Matteo Pilati. Told by Lorenzo that he needs to move out, Antonio rents a room from Denis (Eduardo Valdarnini), a flamboyant sex worker who decides to set Antonio up with a job with Luca (Gianmarco Saurino), a friend with benefits who owns his own bakery and needs an apprentice. It's a match made with a sprinkle of sugar, since Antonio has a passion, and a natural talent, for pastries. He soon begins enhancing that talent by attending a prestigious pastry school, where his skills — advanced as they are — only whet the appetite of the demanding instructor to see him do better.

Not all is "la dolce vita" as Antonio's new life gets underway. Mentored by Luca and Denis in the ways of the online dating world, Antonio begins to hook up with every guy who chats him up on an app — including Thomas (Lorenzo Adorni), whose arrival on the scene (and whose failure to exit as soon as the initial hookup is over) prompts a jealous reaction from Luca. Like a kid in a candy store (or a patisserie), Antonio doesn't know which tasty treat is his favorite... and as the sugar rush of sexual liberation starts to wear off, he suffers moments of mourning and melancholy, still missing his ex.

But life only moves forward, and soon enough Antonio finds himself at multiple crossroads. Stay in Rome? Or go to Milan? Finish pastry school and advance in his new career, or lapse back into his aimless ways? Keep on dating a steady stream of guys, or settle down... and if so, with whom? This delightful movie takes us along with Antonio as he finds his way to a whole new attitude and a more fulfilled existence than he knew he could have.

A quintet of captivating performances, along with the zippy and emotionally resonant direction, ensure that we in the audience tay invested, and amused. Valdarnini brings style and wit to his role as Denis; Saurino plays Luca as a hot fairy godmother with a jaded streak; Calderone, as Lorenzo, isn't on the screen much after the opening scenes, but he steals the show when he is; Adorni plays Thomas with such sweetness and assurance you want him to win Antonio's heart just as surely as you want to see Luca prevail; and Commare plays the blossoming, somewhat naive Antonio to perfection.

"Mascarpone" screens at the OUTshine Fort Lauderdale and Seattle Queer Film Festival

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.