What happens when you mix Euro glam, a soap opera, a fantasy romance tale, and the Italian mafia into one movie? Netflix’s 365 Days. This 2020 Polish erotic romantic drama film was directed by Barbara Białowąs and Tomasz Mandes. The film is based on Blanka Lipińska’s 2018 novel – the first of her trilogy. 365 Days stars Michele Marrone and Anna-Maria Sieklucka. Before you venture into this film, be forewarned: this movie is definitely rated M for Mature. And it certainly earns that rating.

Spoilers

When you first hear about the plot, you’ll probably scratch your head. Basically, Marrone plays the head of an Italian crime organization named Massimo. For the longest time, he’s had dreams of a woman that everyone thought he was making up. It’s not until he sees Sieklucka’s Laura in Poland that Massimo realizes the woman of his dreams is real. The only problem is that she has no idea who he is. That’s no problem for a powerful mafia boss who is used to getting everything he has wanted in his life. He simply takes her from her home and says that she has 365 days to fall in love with him. If she doesn’t, then he will let her go.

I know what you’re saying. I was saying the same thing. What kind of crap is this that we should even buy for a second that this story is in any way, shape, or form something to praise when it starts with a kidnapping? Massimo tells Laura that he won’t touch her unless she gives him permission, but he did still take her against her will. And is still holding her against her will. Plus, he is not shy about wanting to do her every two seconds.

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365 Days Doesn’t Try to Be What it Isn’t

Let’s be real about what this is. It’s erotica. So, it’s not meant to have much of a plot and plays on that porno fantasy of a cat and mouse game. I’m not going to make any sort of comment about this being akin to Beauty and the Beast or Phantom of the Opera. These sorts of stories have been told before and we’ve never blinked an eye. We simply take it for what it is and that’s what I think 365 Days should be taken as.

It’s a very steamy erotica where a powerful male figure must learn restraint. And though Laura did not have control over her kidnapping, she is no dainty flower. Laura does not take shit and does not care to get under Massimo’s skin. Did he think she’d succumb to him so easily? Hell no. And she makes no intention to do so. Laura has come from a place where she’s facing blatant sexism in her professional life and in her relationship. It’s with Massimo that she puts her foot down.

Comparing it to Fifty Shades of Grey

Of course, we have to talk about Fifty Shades of Grey. If you know me, you know I find any excuse to drag that book and film. For as unrealistic as 365 Days is, it has a better plot, a better pace, and is all-around better. Fifty Shades wishes it was as hot and steamy as the Netflix film was. The actors had better chemistry with each other and the sex scenes were far more daring and sensual than anything we saw in Fifty Shades. So, while Fifty Shades came out first, 365 Days did it better. And in a movie where the woman was literally kidnapped, it still managed to portray women better than the other film.

Rating: 4/5

While 365 Days originally felt incredibly far-fetched, I did find myself enjoying it. Yes, of course, the sex scenes were insanely enjoyable. But, I liked the characters, the setting, and the gangster subplot. Laura was great and Massimo was certainly more layered than most characters written like him are. I’d love for a sequel to explore more of Laura and her friend Olga’s relationship, as well as facing the consequences of Massimo’s actions as the Torricelli boss. It seems like a sequel is planned, but production was shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. So, we will have to wait to see if everything begins picking back up in the upcoming months.

Have you seen 365 Days and what were your thoughts?


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