Netflix’s romance drama series “From Scratch” brings on screen a really touching story narrated through their characters with whom we really connect with. It is the story of Amy and Lino, a couple who once had ambitions to create something of their own but whose dreams were shattered into pieces by a fatal illness. Putting themselves back together, they were determined to fight to the very end and create a happy family. They decided to move forward in life with the support of their loved ones. Let’s take a look at Amy and Lino and the other happy faces around them, who served as their ultimate motivation for their journey.
Lino Ortolano (played by Eugenio Mastrandrea) was a charming Italian man who grew up in a small town, Castelleone, in Sicily. From childhood, he had a hunger to create something. He later left his hometown and family to pursue his career in cooking at a restaurant and started working as a chef. He was not just a chef who loved to cook food, but his dishes expressed his creativity. Thus, his individual artistry came out through his cooking style. The moment he stumbled upon Amy on the streets of Florence, he felt a connection with her. After several encounters with Amy, he realized that she was a true artist as well. This way, their connection flourished.
Amy and Lino began their romantic journey in Florence, but Amy had to come back to Los Angeles. So, Lino wouldn’t let her go back alone. Lino wanted to move to Los Angeles to be with Amy. He also felt that there were better career opportunities there. He found it very challenging to fit in with American culture at first, but he began to adjust for the sake of his love. He worked as a waiter in a tiny restaurant in Los Angeles, but he wasn’t satisfied at all. Even at Amy’s family get-together, he felt isolated. Lino felt deeply upset since no one even tried the cuisine he had prepared for the Thanksgiving event. He expressed to Amy how much he was missing his homeland. When he finally realized that Amy was the only one who genuinely cared for him, he wanted to marry her. At this time, another tragedy unfolded in Lino’s life. Lino’s father, Giacomo, who had almost abandoned his son for leaving his ancestral home, got even more enraged upon hearing that Lino was going to marry an American woman. Lino harbored resentment deep inside his heart towards his father since he did not attend their wedding. However, Lino was a man whose artistic prowess had never held him back. The artist in him was addicted to creating something new every day.
When the restaurant, where he was working, closed down, he bought the place with some of his savings. Lino’s amazing cuisine attracted a lot of customers, which instantly provided great happiness to Amy and Lino’s little family. At that time, cancer interrupted that joy working. A bright and talented person like Lino was diagnosed with cancer in his knee tissues. The small world they had built with love instantly lost its light, but Lino was a fighter. He and Amy mustered the courage and anticipated the surgery. Although the surgery was successful, Dr. Alturi recommended that he enroll in a study of a new medication that would reduce the chance of cancer returning in the future. Lino agreed to join since he still had a lot of things to accomplish in life.
Finally, Amy and Lino decided on adopting a child after learning that Lino was entirely cancer-free. Lino stayed healthy for exactly seven years. In between, he wrote down his wildly creative recipes in the notebook that Amy once gifted him in Florence. Lino started teaching culinary skills. He didn’t want to waste his life resting at home under any pretext. He continued to raise his daughter Idalia with his ideals, but eventually, cancer returned to Lino again. He may not have had the physical stamina or fighting spirit, but he never vented his frustration on his family. Even while his health was deteriorating, Lino continued to write recipes in his notebook. He might have lost hope that he would ever stand up or cook again, but he knew the notebook would keep him alive.
The recipes in this notebook will bear witness to his creations so that one day his child, Idalia, will be able to cook using his recipe ideas. Lino’s liver eventually failed, and as the cancer was gradually killing him inside, physicians were helpless to offer any effective treatments. In his last few days, he was brought home. He took one last look at all the faces he knew and entered his room. He knew his life was coming to an end, but even at the last moment, he didn’t want to give any negative vibes to his family. He told his daughter through a story that he would always be connected to her through an invisible string for the rest of her life. Sanity cannot be expected from a human in such circumstances where each of his dreams was shattered, but Lino was an exception. He still had a calm and composed mental state because he was hopeful that after his death, he would live on in the hearts of his loved ones. This quality made Lino’s life and his struggles worth remembering.
Amy Wheeler (played by Zoe Saldaña), a struggling artist from Los Angeles, traveled to Florence, Italy, to study art and find her creative style in painting. Amy’s father wanted to enroll her in law school even though she wished to pursue her love of painting and art. But in the end, Amy decided to follow her passion. In Florence, she began dating Giancarlo, the owner of a renowned art gallery, but after many encounters with Lino, she changed her mind. She sensed the struggles of an artist by looking into his eyes. In her opinion, Lino was her soulmate. Amy took this connection so seriously that she could comprehend the trouble that Lino was facing to adjust in Los Angeles. Seeing that Lino missed his country so much, she took Lino to a bar to watch an Italian football match. When they wanted to get married, Amy wanted Lino’s family to be there for them, but the wedding happened without their presence. She got her promotion at an art gallery where she used to work, but she was more interested in working with kids at an art school. She chose the teaching job as she had always wanted to teach art and have time for herself for the opportunity to pursue her painting.
But once Lino was diagnosed with cancer, all the hopes and ambitions started to fade one by one. Amy was always there for Lino the entire time he was fighting cancer. She could have chosen her own career over her husband’s illness, but Lino was the only person she had loved so much. So, she fought for her husband as well. She renewed her insurance in the interim and devoted all of her savings and attention to her husband’s medical care. Amy and her unwavering love stand as an example in this day and age when relationships are so fragile and filled with selfishness. Amy, in the meantime, wanted to become a mother after her husband got rid of cancer following the surgery. She chose to adopt Idalia and set an example. She did not want to be pregnant but a mother, which is a very inspirational move.
However, after seven healthy years, when Lino got his cancer back and passed away, Amy entirely shut herself off from everybody. She initially resisted getting out of bed due to her depression. It appeared as though the sadness had sucked all of her energy, but she had to make this crucial choice to put herself together, considering Idalia’s future. She brought her child to Sicily to introduce her to her grandmother. Though she gave Lino’s ashes to his mother, she preserved some of his ashes inside her locket as she did not want to say goodbye to him. Finally, she realized Lino’s spirit should be liberated so that it could return to its origins. Amy released the remaining ashes into the air as she said her final goodbyes to her husband. She promised Lino’s mother that she would sign the property documents and would come back to Sicily. In other words, Amy might have wanted to spend the rest of her life in Sicily. Just as Lino left everything behind to live with Amy in a completely unfamiliar country, Amy was going to do the same. She had already adored Sicilian culture and learned the language, so she was most likely about to spend the rest of her life in Lino’s homeland, cherishing his memories.
Amy’s Parents: Hershel Wheeler and Lynn Wheeler
Amy’s father, Hershel Wheeler (played by Keith David), was a successful lawyer who first encouraged Amy to pursue a career in law but ultimately gave her the freedom to follow her passion. He first disapproved of all of Amy’s decisions, but he was ultimately forced to love them. He first offered his daughter some financial assistance, which made Lino feel embarrassed. Later, he accepted Lino as his own child. Hershel was a kind guy who may have boasted of his power and intelligence, but his true priorities were his children’s well-being.
On the other hand, Amy’s mother, Lynn (played by Kellita Smith), who was estranged from Hershel, did not want to accept Lino at first. She tried to get her daughters Amy and Zora to wed the men she preferred, but she eventually had to fall in love with their choices. She might have never adjusted or compromised in any of her relationships, so she didn’t want to let his daughters down, either. However, Amy proved to everyone what motherhood actually is. In fact, Amy’s mother and stepmother gladly welcomed her unconventional decision to adopt a child since it was a courageous move that they might have been afraid to make themselves.
Lino’s Parents: Giacomo Ortolano and Filomena Ortolano
Giacomo and Filomena were highly conservative and obstinate small-scale farmers in the Italian town of Sicily. Giacomo (played by Paride Benassai) initially abandoned Lino for leaving his home, and on top of that, he did not even accept his son marrying an American woman who had different cultural norms. He believed that there were a lot of divorces in America, so he didn’t want Lino to go through the same thing. Giacomo finally made it to America after learning about Lino’s cancer. When he first arrived, he struggled to fit in with American metropolitan society, but he was impressed by Amy’s hospitality and sincere concern about Lino. When the surgery was successful, and Lino was finally cancer-free, Giacomo accepted his son and his marriage to Amy. He forgave his son and embraced him with all his love and affection. Lino also got rid of all the grudges and resentment that he harbored inside. Finally, one day, Filomena informed Lino that Giacomo had passed away from a heart attack.
Children and religion were everything to Filomena (played by Lucia Sardo). Despite her best attempts, she was unable to attend her son’s wedding as Giacomo was determined not to go there; as a result, she carried contempt within her. She was so religious that she used to go to church to confess her anger. Whenever she felt a troubling situation, she went for prayers that gave her mental sanity. When she finally lost her husband and her son, one by one, it left her in severe mental agony, but she still managed to accept their deaths. She spent her time entirely alone in Castelleone. So, when Amy came there with Idalia, she might have yearned to spend time with his granddaughter for the rest of her life. That’s why she did not want to let Amy go back. Therefore, Amy did not want to oppose her choice either and decided to return to Sicily.
Zora (played by Danielle Deadwyler) was Amy’s best friend and ideal sister. She was the one who constantly supported Amy throughout her entire life. Despite not liking Lino’s meddling in her cooking, she allowed him and Amy to stay in her apartment. Zora supported her sister in a variety of ways, but she never asked for anything in return. Even at each of her important events, Amy unintentionally got involved in other activities, which initially frustrated Zora, but she valued her sister more than anything. Zora always had to hide her happy news during Lino’s deteriorating state. She hid her marriage and her pregnancy, thinking that her happiness might cause Lino pain. Amy and Lino, both handled it graciously since, after all, they were all a part of a wonderful family who knew how to care for and love each other. Therefore, as Amy and Lino serve as the story’s cornerstones, Zora plays a vital role that connects her family with each other.
Each character in “From Scratch” series teaches you to love and appreciate the importance of family and the valuable aspects of relationships. Though Amy and Lino are the pillars of this story, the rest of the characters create a great connection around them. You might not like Giacomo at first since he was a stubborn person, but in the end, he, too, had to give in to love. That’s the greatness of “From Scratch.” Every episode just talks about compassionate bonding, which makes you teary-eyed till the end.