Synopsis: “A woman falls victim to a dominant mafia boss, who imprisons her and gives her one year to fall in love with him.”
Not only do I legitimately feel dumber for having watched these, but I’m slowly losing the will to live.
Okay, I’ll admit that was a bold way to start this review. But seriously, I’m not going to lie. 365 Days might be the WORST trilogy Netflix has ever produced. Actually, it might be the worst trilogy ever to exist. Truly. It’s that bad. But did that stop me? Nah. I watched all three of them because apparently, I enjoy tainting my mind. So, grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and sit back because this will be a long one!
Part 1: 365 Days
Ah, the first movie in the series. I lived in blissful ignorance when I watched this, not yet knowing about the sequels that would follow. Don’t get me wrong: the first movie is a complete train wreck, but it at least had some sort of (terrible, terrible) plot to follow. It honestly felt like a fever dream. To prove to myself (and to you) that this was – in fact – real and not a figment of my imagination, I recommend that we dive into the nitty-gritty details and go through all the reasons why this movie was a dumpster fire.
The movie opens with a meeting between the Torricelli Sicilian Mafia family and black-market dealers, who try to get them involved in some type of sex-trafficking deal. Yep. No messing around, diving straight in with the human trafficking. However, the mafia family declines, stating that they have “never been into this sort of business”. Now, why do I have a problem with that? It’s a good thing, isn’t it? Sure. But in the grand scheme of the movie, it just seemed like a lazy way of showing the audience: “Sure, they are criminals. Suuure, they murder people regularly, but hey at least they are not that bad.” Do they want some kind of trophy for that?
In the meantime, Massimo, one of our main protagonists, uses binoculars to spy on a woman on a nearby beach (spoiler: it’s Laura). Wow, we aren’t even 5 minutes in and I can already tell you that Massimo is a massive creep. His father then grabs the binoculars, sees Laura, and drops the incredibly progressive line: “Beautiful women are heaven for the eyes, and hell for the soul, and purgatory for the wallet”. Nice.
Anyways, someone (we never find out who because who actually cares?) shoots Massimo and his father, the latter succumbing to his injuries. Massimo unsurprisingly survives and becomes absolutely obsessed with finding Laura.
Five Years Later
In Warsaw, Laura returns home from a business meeting, to find her boyfriend, Martin, who’s doing work on the couch while a movie is playing in the background. Although she tries to get him in the mood, he shuts her down telling her that “[she] shouldn’t strain herself with that weak heart of [hers]” and reminds her that “[she] probably [hasn’t] packed for [them] yet, right?”. Because apparently, packing luggage is a ‘woman’s job’? Well, Laura then proceeds to go to bed and engages in some self-love…if you know what I mean. Honestly, good for her. This right here might be the only sex scene in the ENTIRE movie that did not make me cringe.
Meanwhile, Massimo – now the leader of the Torricelli Mafia family – and his henchmen Mario and Domenico are on a private jet headed back to Europe. When Mario tells Massimo that someone stole their shipment of cocaine, he gets up without another word, closes the curtains, and approaches the female flight attendant, who soon performs fellatio on him. Let me tell you: this whole scene is incredibly aggressive. The flight attendant does not speak during the entire encounter, she doesn’t particularly seem to enjoy it either and you can see what looks like you-know-what in her mouth. And Massimo’s facial expressions? It’s an absolute sensory overload. I’m still traumatized.
Back to Laura, her boyfriend, and some friends, who have finally made it to Italy and enjoy their time drinking and having fun together. When Laura has to go to the bathroom, she runs into Massimo who emerged out of nowhere, and drops the infamous line: “Are you lost, baby girl?”. EXCUSE ME?! What is happening? I can tell you one thing for sure: If I’d run into a random stranger in the middle of the night on an empty path and he’d ask me that question I’d probably drop dead on the spot. Not kidding. But Laura? Absolutely unbothered.
The next morning, Laura’s birthday, her boyfriend is nowhere to be found. In a little chat with her friend Olga, we learn that Laura is deeply unhappy in her current relationship, and she doesn’t even seem surprised that her boyfriend ditched her on her special day. Around lunchtime Martin shows up again, confessing to Laura that he hiked Mt. Etna by himself, although they were supposed to go together. This causes Laura to run away and walk through the streets alone late at night, trying to collect her thoughts, she’s kidnapped by some of Massimo’s men. Why not at their first encounter? I have no idea. Maybe to drag this mess out even further.
When she awakens, she finds herself at Massimo’s place and discovers large portraits of herself (!) hanging on the walls. Once again, he appears out of nowhere right behind her and asks her the same lame “Are you lost, baby girl?”-question once again. I can’t take any more of that. Help.
Massimo explains to Laura that he’s been searching for her ever since he saw her at the beach five years ago. “Somewhere inside me I had this feeling of certainty that one day you would stand in front of me and be mine,” he tells her. To which she replies: “You must be kidding. Nobody owns me. I’m not an object. You can’t have me just like that – kidnap me and think I’m all yours.” He then acts like he’s actually giving her a CHOICE to fall in love with him in 365 Days… while also… you know… literally taking her hostage. He also hands Laura photos of Martin having sex with someone else, as if that makes what he did somehow better? In the same scene, he tells her “I won’t do anything without your permission”, while forcefully grabbing her breasts. Sir. This is not how consent works. Then he adds “I won’t tie you up, but don’t provoke me. I can’t be gentle.” Okay, then.
Oh yeah, we also find out that Massimo keeps another prisoner, tied to a big stone wheel. He apparently stole from Massimo and was also involved in child sex trafficking, so I suppose that’s fair, but once again it’s a very cheap way of painting Massimo as some sort of ‘good guy’.
Massimo then drags Laura around by her wrist, but heeeey he just wants her to go shopping with him. He even bursts into a changing room once, blatantly staring at Laura wearing lingerie. I wish I was joking. But no big deal! Because women love shopping and that totally excuses the whole kidnapping situation, right? Right??
After that happened, she momentarily tries to run off, but Massimo obviously finds her again and drops the “Are you lost, baby girl?”-line AGAIN. At this point, I’m thinking that if I were to take a shot any time Massimo says something like that, I’d be dead from alcohol poisoning before reaching the halfway point.
As they spend more time together, she continuously teases him and then refuses to have sex with him. It isn’t even made clear why she does that? Are they trying to tell us that she is having the hots for him? Is she purposefully trying to aggravate him? Is she punishing him by doing that? Nobody knows. All I can say is that NEVER in my life had I felt more uncomfortable watching someone eat an ice cream cone before. Massimo eventually gets so mad at her that he TIES her to the bed and forces her to watch him receive oral sex from another woman. Then he LICKS Laura’s thigh, grabs her boob, and tells her that he will quote “f*ck [her] so hard that they will hear [her] scream in Warsaw”. He doesn’t go through with that “plan” or whatever, but I’ll remind you once more: “I won’t do anything without your permission.” HE said that like 5 minutes ago. I’m almost laughing, but it really isn’t funny.
They move on to a disco, where Laura angers Massimo once more by wearing a dress, which Massimo considers “too sexy”, although he was the one who bought it for her! Well, I guess only he is allowed to see her like that. Ugh. Then Laura flirts with some dude from a rival mafia family, who proceeds to touch her inappropriately (against her wish, might I add) causing Massimo to injure the guy by shooting at him. No Massimo, that still doesn’t make you a good guy, because you do exactly the same to her every single day.
We skip ahead to the following morning when Laura awakens on a yacht. Massimo blames her for the whole incident and the war that is now ranging between the two families. The two argue, Laura falls into the water (because HE – accidentally or not – pushes her) and then he dives in to save her. Well, time to forget all about the kidnapping and the assault, I guess, because suddenly Laura seems to be head over heels for Massimo, and then they are doing the nasty. You know: ‘baking the potato’, ‘buttering the biscuit, or my personal favorite ‘bringing an al dente noodle to the spaghetti house’. (Does anyone actually use these synonyms?) Anyway, at this point, I gave up – mentally and emotionally.
What I witnessed during this scene was… a lot. 3:35 minutes of sex in the boat, sex on the boat, sex in the boat again – rinse and repeat. And the spitting scene? Yeah, my soul left my body right then and there.
Later that same day, Massimo and Laura attend a masquerade ball, because why not?? Really, I wholeheartedly believe that this scene was just an excuse to 1.) let Laura wear a mask that looks like it came straight out of Fifty Shades of Grey and 2.) have Massimo and Laura perform a meticulous dance choreography. (But, truth be told: This dance scene was steamy and the only scene I found remotely romantic in this whole two-hour-long movie.)
However, their little dance performance is destroyed by Anna, Massimo’s ex, who threatens them. Massimo then reveals to Laura that he previously dated Anna but told her he would leave her if he ever found Laura (whose portraits had been hanging in his house for the entire time, might I add). And as we know: He did, and now Anna is pissed and told Massimo that she will kill Laura. Massimo is clearly worried and sends Laura to her family in Poland, where he promises to join her as soon as he can.
In Poland, Laura meets her best friend Olga again, and oh lawd how her back must hurt from singlehandedly carrying this whole goddamn movie! Seriously, I simply love Olga (and Domenico – but he hasn’t played a big role in the first movie). Fight me on that. Do you know how Laura describes Massimo to her best friend??? “Imagine a strong alpha male, he is your caretaker and defender, when you are with him he makes you feel like a little girl.” … I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Sorry, that was gross of me to say, but that is the only reaction that I could muster.
Anyways, Laura and Olga have a little beauty spa/makeover session in which Laura randomly changes her hair to blond like 20 minutes before the movie ends. There’s some heavy tension there that is not explored further, which is quite upsetting. In all honesty, this trilogy would have been decent if Laura ditched Massimo for Olga and they ended up together. We love some queer, unproblematic, loving romance without kidnapping involved.
In the club, the two run into Laura’s ex-boyfriend who tries to beg for her forgiveness, but she is not having it – and rightfully so. He, however, as apparently all men in Laura’s life cannot take a simple “no” and follows her all the way back to her apartment. But surprise: Massimo is already there, waiting for her to come back when Martin FINALLY takes the hint and leaves.
Laura is extremely upset by the fact that Massimo hasn’t reached out to her in the past few days. So upset in fact that she slaps him – which turns into another sex scene. When will Hollywood stop masquerading abuse as BDSM? This. Is. Not. Okay.
Well, the following morning Massimo proposes to Laura and she accepts (they’ve known each other for TWO MONTHS at this point). Imagine that. I have known the cashier at my local supermarket longer than that. However, her family is not allowed to attend, as Laura doesn’t want them to find out that Massimo is involved in some shady business. Thankfully, Olga is allowed to come AND will be Laura’s bridesmaid (I’m still lowkey hoping for Olga to step in last minute and snitch the bride away.)
Back in Italy, Laura reveals to Olga that she’s pregnant. She hasn’t told Massimo yet, but Olga urges her to, so Laura decides to talk to him after dinner. But on her way back from the wedding dress fitting, one of Massimo’s henchmen is informed that the rival mafia gang is about to kill Laura. It is then implied that she gets into a car accident of some sort (which we don’t even see on-screen – they just drive into a tunnel and don’t come out at the other end) and the movie just ends right then and there.
Bottom line: Honestly, I’m exhausted. You’re exhausted. We’re all exhausted. I feel the need to watch something disgustingly intellectual after this, but I fear I’ve lost my last three brain cells writing this. I may never be the same. But did I also watch the two sequels? Yes, yes I did. So, stay tuned! I, for one, am outta here for now.