Gabriel’s Rapture: Part One is out on Passionflix now. Fans of the film adaptation based on the popular Gabriel book series by Sylvain Reynard have been anticipating it since the teaser was dropped last November. After watching the film, myself, I can honestly say it was worth the wait. Once again, Melanie Zanetti and Giulio Berruti reprise their roles as Julia Mitchell and Professor Gabriel Emerson. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the premise, here’s a synopsis:
Professor Gabriel Emerson has embarked on a passionate, yet clandestine affair with his former student, Julia Mitchell. Sequestered on a romantic holiday in Italy, he tutors her in the sensual delights of the body and the raptures of sex. But when they return, their happiness is threatened by conspiring students, academic politics, and a jealous ex-lover. When Gabriel is confronted by the university administration, will he succumb to Dante’s fate? Or will he fight to keep Julia, his Beatrice, forever? In Gabriel’s Rapture, the brilliant sequel to the wildly successful debut novel, Gabriel’s Inferno, Sylvain Reynard weaves an exquisite love story that will touch the reader’s mind, body, and soul, forever.
As someone who has read the first two books in the Gabriel series, I was thoroughly pleased with this adaptation. Like I said before, the Gabriel films are the main reason I still have my Passionflix account, and I think a lot of people would probably agree that this series is one of the best ones on the streaming service. Directed by Passionflix creator Tosca Musk, Gabriel’s Rapture: Part One picks us up right where part one left off in Italy. Julia and Gabriel have consummated their love and are having a romantic getaway where they can be free from prying eyes. They are no longer the student and the Professor. They are lovers and there is no pressure of having to hide that love.
We see Julia and Gabriel travel all over Italy as they fall more in love with each other. It’s like a honeymoon of sorts. I thought Tosca did a beautiful job of showcasing the freedom Julia and Gabriel were experiencing. It made the viewer feel the same. The locations are absolutely breathtaking, and they will make you wish you could hop right on a plane and head over. Surrounded by lush greenery, hillside villas and amazing architecture, every shot is more stunning than the last.
Unfortunately, just like the book, Julia and Gabriel’s carefree trip is interrupted by outside forces trying to tear them apart. From a nosy professor who is an adversary of Gabriel’s, to Julia’s past trauma stemming from her abusive relationship with her ex- boyfriend Simon. During their trip, Julia has to come to terms with her trauma and she opens up to Gabriel even more about it. He encourages her to see a therapist to talk about all that she’s been through.
Gabriel is by no means without his own personal traumas. He’s a former drug addict, and an alcoholic with a lot of anger over the things that happened in his past mainly the death of his daughter Maia. The past anger he’s been holding onto has made it difficult for him to really open up and let things go. Julia wants him to work on his issues because she can see how closed off he still is. That was one of the things I loved about this film.
Julia and Gabriel are so supportive of each other in their own healing process. They are not afraid to have honest conversations about things and that’s what makes them relatable. Both of them understand in order for their own relationship to work and grow, they first need to work on themselves. When Julia and Gabriel return home, things don’t get any better for them as both of their past demons come creeping in. There are a lot of people who don’t want Gabriel and Julia to be together and they are definitely making that clear. Gabriel’s Rapture: Part One ends in a perfect spot that just works so well. You may or may not have had an idea of where it would end when reading the book. I certainly didn’t but was very pleased when it came.
I love the Gabriel films because what Passionflix founder Tosca Musk does with them is something a lot of readers can appreciate. There are four books in the series and Tosca has taken them and broken them down into a serialized format for the screen. Book one which is Gabriel’s Inferno is three parts, and every single one works just as well as the last. They are all close to two hours in length, but we get all the good stuff we want to see. This approach is one of my favorites because instead of trying to cram a 506-page book into one movie, she’s given us all the parts.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love my films like Twilight, Fifty Shades, and After but, what Tosca is doing is something that I think could have helped a few of our favorite films in the long run. At least for those big meaty books that have so much that it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what to keep and what to take out. Depending on the choices that are made, you can either make fans very happy or you can make them very upset. This girl is happy with all she’s gotten with the Gabriel films, and I will be counting down the days until we can get the next part.
Naturally, I had to end this review by talking about our leads Melanie and Giulio. Both of these actors are incredible, and they do a fantastic job of bringing their characters to life. Melanie is the only person I could ever imagine playing Julia and Giulio is the only person I could see as Gabriel. Melanie brings out the softness that Julia has but also that fierceness underneath that often comes to the surface. She’s done a great job of developing her character throughout the films. Giulio brings out the passionate nature of Professor Emerson. There has also been a lot of growth from him as well. His acting has definitely gotten stronger as the series has continued.
Speaking of passion, the chemistry between Melanie and Giulio, HOLY MOLY! I’ve been obsessed with them since the first film, They work incredibly well together, and they make you feel all of the emotions they convey. I often say Giulio delivers a lot of breath stealing kisses. The love scenes are sexy and tasteful which I love. Though I didn’t review it here, I have to mention the beautiful job Tosca Musk did with shooting Julia and Gabriel’s first time together. There was a lot of slow buildup in that scene. Some women thought it took too long to actually get to them having sex, but I didn’t have a problem with it. It was exactly like the book. It was sensual and filled with a lot of attention to detail that we often don’t take the time to appreciate.
I say all that to say this, Gabriel’s Rapture: Part One is a beautiful adaptation. It’s a love story and I also think it’s the perfect one to watch during the holiday season because it does also feel like a comfort movie despite the ups and downs Julia and Gabriel face. We feel like this about all of the Gabriel films. When you watch Gabriel’s Rapture: Part One, you will smile, swoon, cry, and get mad but it’s a film to cuddle up to with a nice cup of cocoa and your favorite desert.