Gabriel’s Redemption Part 1 has finally arrived on Passionflix. The movie, adapted from Sylvain Reynard’s bestselling novel, is the third book adapted by the romance streamer and it’s the first of three movies that will bring the book to life. It’s also, quite possibly, the best installment of the series that Tosca Musk and her Passionflix team have made yet.
With Melanie Zanetti as Julianne Emerson and Giulio Berruti as her loving husband, Professor Gabriel O. Emerson, the story reveals what married life is like for the star-crossed couple as Julianne continues work on her PhD and Gabriel tries (emphasis on “tries”) not to be too overbearing since he’s, you know, an expert on the subject.
Gabriel’s Redemption arrives four years after work initially began on the first set of movies, the Gabriel’s Inferno trilogy. There was a moment very early in the movie when I was struck by the passage of time.
It’s the passage of time that makes the movie so poignant. Gabriel and Julia’s marriage and their relationship feels so real because the four years this group has spent working together, brought even closer by a global pandemic that forced them to film in some of the most extraordinary circumstances imaginable. The time the cast and crew have spent bringing these films to life absolutely translates to the on-screen chemistry you see, not only with Gabriel and Julia but with all of the characters. There’s a level of authenticity in their performances that you just don’t see every day, and it’s a testament to the cast, the crew and the entire Passionflix team.
Berruti posted about the journey on social media, noting that it has been “4 years of fun, sweat and tears.”
There were so many things that stood out to me about the movie that I recorded my thoughts in an episode of the My Nights Are Booked Podcast. For me, it’s the little details that help make these movies special. Sure, there are the iconic moments that fans have waited for (Gabriel’s derision at — gasp! — twin beds, anyone?) but more than anything it’s the little things that stand out. It’s how Zanetti plays Julianne’s frustration at Gabriel when he rejects her paper, it’s James Andrew Fraser’s Paul looking like physical contact with Gabriel, even in a moment of truce, makes him want to violently hurl.
We’ve been with these actors for so long — and with their characters even longer — but in Gabriel’s Redemption Part 1 you really feel the cohesion. Whether it’s the moments when the whole family is together or watching Julianne deliver her paper, with Gabriel, Paul and Linda Atkinson’s Katherine Picton watching supportively, these are the moments that make this movie so special.
Zanetti shines with her inspired performance. Here we see Julianne cme full circle, moving from the timid grad student in the first set of movies to a confident, poised woman who isn’t afraid of asserting herself. Zanetti delivers each line with her trademark care and poise; she’s absolutely magnetic and so much fun to watch.
Other standout performances include Fraser’s portrayal of Paul, who, similarly, goes on quite a journey in the movie. He still harbors resentment over what happened with Julianne, but he’s come a long way, too. One of the most dazzling performances comes from Margaux Brooke as Christa Peterson. Fans knew what was coming for Christa in Redemption, but watching Brooke navigate Christa’s vindictive side and her eventual comeuppance is truly remarkable. (Also, we need to find Christan Vit a role in the Passionflix universe where he can be the good guy because as much as he slays the role of Pacciani, we need him in a role where we can cheer for him. Same for Rhett Wellington. Please and thank you!)
All in all, I think that if Gabriel’s Redemption Part 1 is this good, then Passionistas are in for a real treat with the second and third installments. And you know what they say about good things coming to those who wait…
Gabriel’s Redemption Part 1 is available to stream now on Passionflix along with Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture.