Netflixable? Teen Italians, in love and facing tragedy — “Caught by a Wave”

Young love is tested by illness and honesty issues in “Caught by a Wave,” a scenic Italian romance set against a sailing backdrop.

The leads are pretty and the locales romantic, but the scenario is generic and the pacing funereal in this dry-eyed weeper of rehab and regattas.

Sailing camp on the isle of Favignana is where Sara (Elvira Camarrone) meets Lorenzo (Roberto Christian). She’s a bit more confident than the other kids, more at home in a Laser racing dinghy than the newbies. He’s been to the camp many times, and is now an expert dinghy racer (29ers) and assistant instructor.

He comes on strong and cute, she plays it coy. “Let him suffer, no matter what” her BFF Barbara (Sofia Migliara) instructs (in Italian with subtitles, or dubbed into English).

But Sara has a secret, one that enters the picture the moment she cramps up one day on the water. Back home, she has another episode and we learn the truth from the doctor who puts her into rehab. Her “inevitably degenerative muscular dystrophy” has advanced. This doesn’t bode well for her future, much less any future with Lorenzo.

How long will she keep this from him?

Second-unit director Massimiliano Camaiti makes the sailing scenes pretty and pretty exciting in his feature directing debut. And the script, which he co-wrote, has its touching moments. Lorenzo lost his mother as a child and taking on a relationship with doom hanging over it gives him a struggle, if less of one than Sara, who sees the future of her disease in her fellow rehab patients.

There isn’t much edge here, but teens hospitalized after a rave and a helpful aunt teaching Lorenzo how to light a cigarette aren’t elements you’d see in your typical North American teen romance.

The cute bits aren’t quite enough to merit ducking into this Netflix original. But the lovely setting and the romance might decide that for some. And who, when facing a grim future, wouldn’t want to hear something this reassuring from your first love?

“I’m with you, and it’s the best thing that could ever happen.”

MPA Rating: TV-14, teen sexuality, teen smoking, drug abuse and alcohol consumption

Cast: Elvira Camarrone, Roberto Christian, Donatella Finocchiaro, Sofia Migliara, Vincenzo Amato, Corrado Invernizzi

Credits: Directed by Massimiliano Camaiti , script by Claudia Bottino, Massimiliano Camaiti. A Netflix release.

Running time: 1:39

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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