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Summertime

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What it’s about:

The binge-watch version of a summer beach read — one loosely based on the bestselling Italian novels by Federico Moccia — Summertime follows five friends on the cusp of adulthood through their summer of romance, affairs, and freedom in a rich-hued seaside resort on the Adriatic sea.

Names you might know:

The most notable name is Federico Moccia, bestselling author of the Three Meters Above the Sky novels that inspired the series. In Rome, there’s a Moccia route where fans can see lines from the books painted on buildings,

As for the actors, the lead, Summer, is played by stand-out newcomer Rebecca Coco Edogamhe, with Ludovico Tersigni playing her love interest, Ale.  The series is directed by Lorenzo Sportiello and Francesco Lagi.

Why it’s worth your time:

It takes you to this place: Italy’s Adriatic Riviera, to a vibrant village with indigo waves, vespas, dance parties on the beach, and striking, scantily clad people having fun.

It takes you to this time of life:  just before leaving home, the first tastes of freedom, the first loves.

It may be soapy and full of some awkward cliches, and the dubbed English can be cringe-y, neutering some of the transporting appeal of its Italian setting and performers. But this is meant to be a summer escape watch, one with appealing leads and a production aimed at stimulating all of your senses.

At the center of it is an Italian 18-year-old named Summer, who has big plans to travel the world as soon as she graduates. In the meantime, she’s got her troubled kid sister, Blue, to look after, and her waitress mom to help out, as her dad has left for the States to find work as a jazz musician…and its not clear if he’s coming back.

When Summer reluctantly accompanies her best friend Sofia to a pool party, she meets a rebellious charmer from Rome, a famous motorcyclist named Ale.  After he accidentally bumps Summer into the pool, Ale tries to make amends by offering his sweatshirt. It’s the first of several bump ins, but Ale will have to win over Summer.  The two come from very different backgrounds, and growing up in a resort town has left Summer sharply aware that the visiting vacationers “turn up, break hearts and leave,” leaving the year-rounders abandoned.

Of course, the locals also get to meet seductive strangers of all stripes from around the world, and they don’t have to worry about being stuck with them in a small town if it doesn’t work out. And Summer and Ale’s friends each get their own story lines, infatuations, love affairs and heart breaks.

The takeaway:

Take yourself on a vicarious trip to Italy and disappear into this streaming equivalent of a summer beach read. It will lull you in as much by the sexy summer romances and charming leads as with its lapping waves, Italian classics soundtrack, and rich-hued cinematography.

Watch it with:

With your summer vacation mate or summer share housemates when you’re rained in. Or your roommates when you’re stuck at home and need to dream up that future adventure to Italy.

Worth noting:

The author, Federico Mocci, whose books the series was based on, is quite influential. The ritual of people putting padlocks on bridges to symbolize their everlasting love reportedly began in response to two main characters from his second book putting a padlock on the Ponte Milvio, a bridge in the Tiber in Northern Rome.

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