Netflix‘s right from the start it’s a program that does whatever it can to get you to the Kleenex. We have a perfect love story shattered by death, a grieving widow learning to let go and a little girl coming to terms with the death of her beloved dad. And yes, I did get a little nervous at those points, but for me, the saddest part of right from the start it was the moment the handsome Lino (Eugenio Mastrandrea) loses all of his hair (twice) due to chemotherapy. Never before has she seen male hair loss treated with such anguish. Forget the funeral. I cry for that hot hair.
right from the start is inspired by the memoir of Tembi Locke, an actress and activist who fell in love with a Sicilian chef while living in Italy. Locke’s husband, Saro Gullo, tragically passed away in 2012 due to complications from cancer, leaving Locke alone to raise her daughter Zoela. The Netflix series reimagines Locke as aspiring artist Amy (Zoe Saldana) and her husband as Lino, an impossibly perfect dream ship. She woos Amy with moonlight walks, thoughtful gifts, and delicious free food. Years later, when Lino is diagnosed with cancer, Amy rallies her friends and family to help him first defeat him, then deal with his deadly return.
right from the start is a story of star-crossed lovers and heartbreaking tragedy. So why was I so moved by the incredibly brief scene where Lino initially loses his hair due to chemotherapy that I wrote in my notes, “sexy man losing hair = sad”, when I didn’t write anything about his actual death? What is going on with this specific scene?
I want to press pause and go back for a second. I never thought that male pattern hair loss is a bad thing, nor do I envy any guy (or lady) the right to shave their heads. Bald is beautiful. Many men look much hotter bald. It has never been something that I personally cared much about! And yet, I was devastated to see Lino pull out small strands of coal-black hair after her chemo session and saddened even more to see the electric razor break. What was happening??
I think part of the reason this moment hit so hard was because of Eugenio Mastrandrea’s performance as Lino. The man looks so sad about losing his hair, you’d think this was actually his death scene. His eyes are panicked. His pale face from him. It is the moment when he really has to accept his illness.
It doesn’t help that such a short sequence is followed by a shot of Amy first crying alone and then butchering some dry spaghetti. (Sorry, but why does an Italian chef’s wife cut spaghetti in half and then into quarters? That’s not how spaghetti is cooked! YOU HAVE A HUGE POT BOILING! COME IN WITHOUT DISTURBING!! !) She then feeds these pieces of broken pasta to her bedridden, balding husband. It’s sadness upon sadness. My heart just couldn’t take it all.
Lino beats his cancer and eventually grows his hair back. He and Amy adopt a sweet little girl named Idalia. Life goes on until she doesn’t. Because right from the start is an unapologetic tearjerker, Lino’s cancer returns. This time, he and Amy face their hair loss as a couple. He shaves her head in a scene as sad as it is romantic. Once again, I was forced to wonder about right from the startthis man’s fixation on the hair. right from the start really believe hair loss is tragic! I mean, maybe not as tragic as Lino’s eventual death, but it’s sad.
When I think about my binge time right from the startI won’t remember Amy’s vapid attempts at art or even what dishes Lino made in her temporary restaurant. I will remember that this Netflix show made me think too much about the tragedy of a handsome man losing his hair.