Mambo Italiano

Watch Mambo Italiano

"Things change. Family doesn't."
  • R
  • 2003
  • 1 hr 28 min
  • 6.7  (6,932)
  • 41

Mambo Italiano is a 2003 Canadian comedy-drama film directed by Émile Gaudreault. The film stars Luke Kirby as Angelo Barberini, a young Italian-Canadian man struggling with his conservative upbringing and his desire for a life outside of traditional expectations. Peter Miller co-stars as Nino Paventi, Angelo's childhood friend and confidante, and Ginette Reno appears as Maria Barberini, Angelo's overbearing but loving mother.

The film opens with Angelo and Nino, both in their early twenties, living together in a small apartment in Montreal. Angelo is a struggling writer while Nino works as a waiter at a restaurant owned by his family. Despite their close friendship, Angelo has never confided in Nino that he is gay, a fact that becomes increasingly difficult to keep hidden as Angelo begins a relationship with his coworker, the handsome and free-spirited dancer, Nino Paventi.

As Angelo becomes more comfortable with his sexuality and his desire for a life outside of traditional Italian-Canadian expectations, he struggles to come out to his close-knit family. His strict and conservative parents, Maria and Gino, have always expected Angelo to marry a nice Italian girl and have children, but Angelo knows that this is not the life he wants. Meanwhile, his sister Anna is dealing with her own struggles after returning to Montreal from studying in Rome, including a difficult breakup with her boyfriend.

Throughout the film, Angelo and Nino navigate their burgeoning relationship while trying to keep it secret from their families and the rest of their conservative community. They face obstacles including Angelo's guilt about disappointing his family, Nino's reluctance to be out and proud, and the disapproval of their families and community members. Along the way, they find support in unexpected places, including Nino's father, a devout Catholic priest who encourages Nino to be true to himself and to follow his heart.

Mambo Italiano explores themes of cultural identity, family ties, and the struggle for acceptance in a conservative community. Through the character of Angelo, the film depicts the struggles of coming out in a tight-knit immigrant community and the pressures placed on young people to conform to expectations of marriage, children, and traditional gender roles. The film is both touching and humorous, with a strong ensemble cast that brings the story to life. The film's title, Mambo Italiano, reflects the film's theme of cultural fusion, with its blend of Italian and Latin dance styles serving as a metaphor for the blending of Anglo and Italian-Canadian cultures.

In conclusion, Mambo Italiano is a poignant and witty film that tackles important themes of family, identity, and acceptance. The relationship between Angelo and Nino is authentic and heartfelt, and the film's strong ensemble cast offers a rich and nuanced portrait of Italian-Canadian life. Through its portrayal of a community struggling to reconcile tradition with modernity, Mambo Italiano offers a valuable commentary on the contemporary immigrant experience.

Mambo Italiano is a 2003 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 28 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7 and a MetaScore of 41.

Mambo Italiano
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 28 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (6,932)
  • Metascore