Warning: This post contains spoilers for From Scratch.
Last month, Netflix viewers fell in love with a new limited series. From Scratch stars Zoe Saldana as Amy, an American student studying abroad in Italy who falls in love with a Sicilian chef named Lino (Eugenio Mastrandrea). It starts off romantic enough. But keep watching and things soon turn heavy. Given all the melodramatic turns, it seems like it could be purest fiction. But is it?
The answer is: no — for the most part. From Scratch is based upon the memoir of the same name by Tembi Locke. The version that made it to the small screen — with help from Locke herself — takes a fair amount of liberties with the true story. For one thing, the names are changed. Thembi is named Amy. Lino was really named Rosario, or “Saro.” For another, some of the events were altered. It’s true that Locke moved back to the U.S., leaving Saro behind, as in the show. But in real life, Saro eventually moved with her to Los Angeles.
But some things are exactly like they were in real life — or close enough to it. For instance, the Florence apartment where Amy meets Lino was next to Locke’s real apartment. What’s more, the part where Lino stands in the rain is exactly where Saro once stood. That bar Amy works at? It was the exact one that Saro owned. A cooking scene, in which Amy uses too much vinegar, was inspired by a similar real-life incident. Indeed, a lot of the smaller, more intimate moments in the show are at least inspired by things that really happened.
Some of the bigger ones happened, too. Locke and Saro did adopt a daughter, as Amy and Lino do on the show. Locke also did go to Sicily to bury Saro, as happens in the show.
So there you have it: Like most films inspired by real life, certain liberties are taken, but the Netflix Like Scratch isn’t all that different from the Real McCoy. Still, however much it may make viewers weep into soiled hankies, at least it’s not upsetting like other Netflix docudrama series like Inventing Anna or Dahmer.