Studying abroad is supposed to be a life-changing experience, and for Amy Wheeler (Zoe Saldaña, “The Adam Project”), this is most definitely the case. Based on actress Tembi Locke’s 2019 best-selling memoir of the same name, Netflix’s new miniseries “From Scratch” tells the story of finding love, passion and oneself along the streets of beautiful Florence, Italy.
The story starts with Amy, a law student from Texas, arriving in Florence, where she plans to explore the city and learn about its art. Between glimpses of the Duomo and Michelangelo’s “David,” the audience watches as Amy gets acquainted with her new home for the next six weeks. Here she will be honing her artistic skills and, as she tells her new Italian friend, experiencing “her own Renaissance.” What she has yet to discover, though, is that the city and its art are not the only things she will fall in love with during her stay.
Shortly after arriving in Florence, Amy bumps into Lino (Eugenio Mastrandrea, “La fuggitiva”), a chef from Sicily. It’s hard to ignore the immediate chemistry the two share upon meeting for the first time; however, it’s clear that Amy’s initial intentions are not to find romance in Italy but to prove to her displeased father that she is a true artist. Nevertheless, the audience cannot help but wonder if Lino may put a slight wrench in her plans, making her trip much more complicated than she originally anticipated.
While “From Scratch” is an outward cliché romantic drama that presents viewers with picturesque experiences seemingly unattainable to most, it remains extremely engaging. Between the mouthwatering food, magical scenery and an Italian love affair, the audience will undeniably be hooked within the first few minutes. However, if those aspects don’t sound intriguing enough, the fact that the plot is based on real events will have each viewer living vicariously through Amy’s extraordinary love story and aching for one of their own.
It’s not all smooth sailing, though. With little support from her family, Amy endeavors to discover her true passion on her own. What she finds is that her desire to be an artist greatly outweighs the pressure she feels to be a lawyer. Even so, we witness the internal struggle Amy faces when it comes to choosing her dream over her father’s expectations. The audience feels a sense of unease as Amy confronts two conflicting life choices; should she continue law school — a path of guaranteed security and approval — or should she risk it all to become an artist? These questions leave the viewer unsure of which route Amy should take, and it is this indecisiveness that may have them questioning their own life choices.
Fortunately for Amy, she isn’t completely alone: she has her sister Zora (Danielle Deadwyler, “Till”) to rely on as she attempts to forge her own path. However, what truly makes this relationship special is that “From Scratch” was created by both Tembi and her sister Attica Locke, the writer responsible for shows such as “Empire” and “Little Fires Everywhere.” Amy and Zora are intended to be fictional representations of Tembi and Attica, allowing the audience an even greater appreciation for their strong sisterly bond and the sentimentality of the show.
Whether or not viewers have read Tembi’s memoir, Netflix’s romantic drama “From Scratch” will have you itching to uncover all of Amy’s story, from discovering her passion to falling in love and everything that happens in between. You never know — maybe you’ll find yourself and your soulmate somewhere among the cobblestone streets of Florence, too.
Daily Arts Writer Molly Hirsch can be reached at email@example.com.