Nuovo Olimpo Review – A passionate and poised piece of cinema

By Romey Norton
Published: November 1, 2023 (Last updated: November 4, 2023)
Nuovo Olimpo Review
Nuovo Olimpo | Image via Netflix


Not a romance for the ages, but still a sweet take on a missed opportunity and love for cinema.

Nuovo Olimpo is a romantic drama film set in late 1970s Rome. The story follows two young men who meet by chance and fall deeply in love. An unexpected event, however, separates them and they spend the next 30 years romanticizing the hope of finding each other again. The film comes from prolific Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek and this Rome-set romance marks his first collaboration with Netflix. The story is a classic bleeding love, for our aspiring director Enea (Daminano Gavino), and medical student Pietro (Andrea Di Luigi).

The film sweetly filters a love for cinema through a love between two people, though it’s not quite a romance for the ages.

Nuovo Olimpo review and plot summary

If anything this film is a nod and love letter to the cinema, as Pietro and Enea meet on a set, then at the cinema (the Nuovo Olimpo — the film title), and when they separate, Enea becomes a director and turns their love story into a film. In a way, this keeps their love alive in a film forever. It’s beautifully poetic and displays the power of the arts, love, and memory. 

The plot of the film shows the years passing as the two young men grow and build lives without one another. Enea becomes an established director and Pietro begins his career as a surgeon. Enea creates a film that romantically recounts the only meeting he had with Pietro, that took place that night in the house in Rome. Pietro, accompanied by his wife, sees the film and is reminded of his experience. 

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The first forty minutes of the film are quite beautiful in portraying their growing love and relationship, but the conflict that drives them apart doesn’t feel strong enough to keep them apart for so long. As the two move on with their lives, the story becomes weaker. Nuovo Olimpo is almost two hours long and we only see Pietro and Enea together at the beginning and end, so it’s a long time for yearning. The storyline is predictable, banal, and similar to many other romance films we’ve seen before, therefore the film doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking or that will give it any longevity. 

However, the acting is to a high standard, but it’s funny how, at times, the two leads fall into the background as smaller characters stand out so well. What the film lacks in plot it makes up for in its characters and their performances. There are some graphic sex scenes and nudity that felt necessary and not added for the wow factor. The cinematography and music are beautiful; complementing each scene. 

Is this romance film worth watching?

For a romance movie to have real substance, it needs to show why the people involved care for each other so deeply and how this relationship changes them. In this, we do have two lost lovers, whose brief romance haunts them as they live their lives with a longing, burning desire. However, the substance in their separation and build-up to the ending is weak.

Whilst Nuovo Olimpo might be just another love story, it is worth watching for its slow, arty, poetic style, and nods to cinema. 

What did you think of Nuovo Olimpo? Comment below.

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