Lorenzo (Rimau Ritzberger Grillo) is 16, gay, and has just been adopted by a loving couple in Udine. There were problems with his last placement but this time he’s lucked out; he can be himself with these parents. The first week at school when a teacher tries to suspend him for wearing nail polish, his new dad rushes into school to fight for his son’s right. ‘Tomorrow I am going to have him wear lipstick”, he tells the teacher.
Blu (Valentina Romani) is his new classmate, and she’s an outsider too. She has an older boyfriend and she’s got a dreaded high school “reputation” for being a slut; not only is she friendless, but a group of girls are making her life miserable. Things aren’t much better at home, and a new found disrespect for her mother makes her a “girl without a country”, having nowhere to go to feel happy and secure.
Antonio (Leonardo Pazzagli) is a depressed high school athlete, having lost his brother to a terrible accident. He has friends on the team, but they think of him as stupid, teasing him and calling him retarded. His brother has become a sort of “pretend friend” when Antonio needs someone to talk to. “I think they’d have rathered that it was me that died.”
The film, which at first seems pretty but a little too glossy and superficial quickly proves itself to be more. Even with the splashy dream sequences à la “Glee”, song and dance numbers that Lorenzo imagines to help him cope, the situations are heartbreakingly real, and will strike a cord with anyone who is in or has ever been to high school. It’s billed as an “anti-bullying” movie, but it’s so much better than that.
Un Bacio speaks to parents who don’t know how to talk to their kids, it speaks of awkward sexuality and date rape, and it gives hope, even when it’s taking it away, that things can get better.
Director Ivan Cotroneo (Kryptonite Nella Borsa) couldn’t have found three more talented, likable kids to play the teens who form a friendship that promises to save their high school experience. The parents are are all really well cast, particularly Lorenzo’s adoptive ones (Susy Laude and Thomas Trabacchi).
Leave it to Controneo to come up with a killer soundtrack, featuring songs like Lady Gaga’s Born This Way.