While Marvel Studios and Sony are trying to desperately protect Spider-Man: No Way Home against leaks that could spoil the film for legions of fans, Gabriel’s Rapture is virtually spoiler-proof. The litmus test of success for the latest Passionflix release is how closely the movie follows author Sylvain Reynard’s book, and let’s just say it’s marvelous.
Gabriel’s Rapture Part 1 debuted on the romance streaming service slightly ahead of the planned November 24 release date, making for a nice surprise for fans who have been eagerly awaiting the next installment of the story. Now that Julia Mitchell (Melanie Zanetti) and Professor Gabriel Emerson (Giulio Berruti) are officially a couple, it’s the start of their life together. Little do they know, there’s trouble on the horizon.
Passionflix CEO Tosca Musk is back as the director of the new movie. Like 2020’s Gabriel’s Inferno there will be three installments of Gabriel’s Rapture, which is based on Reynard’s 2012 novel.
The movie opens in Florence. Gabriel and Julia have taken their relationship to the next level, and their shared intimacy has brought them even closer together. Berruti and Zanetti’s chemistry is electric; Gabriel only has eyes for his Julia and Julia basks in the glow of his attention and affection.
(Universal axiom: Find yourself someone who looks at you the way Gabriel looks at Julia)
While the two lovers embark on their journey of love, they have no idea that there are forces at work that will try to drive them apart. The Rapture villains start taking their places in Part 1, setting events into motion that will play out through Part 2 and Part 3, challenging Gabriel and Julia’s relationship and shaking them both to the core.
Christian Vit delights as the devilishly handsome but devilishly devilish Professor Giuseppe Pacciani while Margaux Brooke (who is one of the nicest people on the planet in real life) channels everything that is nasty and nefarious in her performances as Christa Peterson. Jennifer Koon makes her debut as Julia’s former friend Natalie while Agnes Albright joins the story (in person) as Gabriel’s former girlfriend, Paulina.
Thankfully, Julia and Gabriel have a strong support system in place from their friends and family. James Andrew Fraser is back as the lovable Paul, while Julia Barrett-Mitchell returns as Gabriel’s no-nonsense sister Rachel.
The first thing I noticed about Gabriel’s Rapture Part 1 is the color. Think of a Botticelli painting come to life. Fans of the books will know what I mean when I refer to Julia’s dress and Gabriel’s tie; the colors are so rich in this movie that there’s a moment when the dress and tie become actors and take center stage and it’s magnificent.
The way Musk uses color and light in Gabriel’s Rapture is an important storytelling tool. The colors are vibrant and the scenes are bright, much like the lighthearted glow of a new relationship. I’m using “new” loosely here; Julia and Gabriel came together unofficially in Gabriel’s Inferno Part 2 but couldn’t become an actual couple until the semester was over, which happened at the end of Part 3 and leads into Gabriel’s Rapture Part 1. Now that they have consummated the relationship, they’re in a new place and it’s a place full of light and love. Everything is new and shiny and wonderful, just like falling in love.
The Passionflix model is to faithfully transform beloved romance novels into movies (in the case of the Gabriel movies, all credit goes to screenwriter Mary Pocrnic), which means that fans know what happens in the story. The element of surprise comes in how well Musk, Zanetti, Berruti and the rest of the cast and crew bring the story to life. That’s where the true joy comes from. Seeing a beloved story come to life is a dream in itself and in this case Gabriel’s Rapture Part 1 delivers on all fronts. It’s everything a fan could ever hope for, and so much more.
All three installments of Gabriel’s Inferno debuted in 2020 to much fanfare from Passionistas around the world. In many ways, the movies helped fans cope with the stress of the pandemic and living in lockdown as Reynard’s online community of fans came together to support each other through their love of the books, the movies, the actors and their love for Passionflix and its mission.
Through their kindness and generous spirit, fans found a home in this beautiful community. A few lucky fans were able to attend the red carpet premiere in Boston, marking the first time the cast was able to gather together to celebrate a premiere.
Passionflix set the bar very high with the Gabriel’s Inferno trilogy. Gabriel’s Rapture Part 1 not only accepted the challenge but raised the bar even higher. The stage has been set for the next two movies and now the countdown begins for Part 2.
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