A review of “The Bread, My Sweet” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ***

Rating: Unrated but could be PG for mildly adult themes

Run Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

 

 

I chuckled with contempt when I saw the name Scott Baio on the front of the press notes.  Yes, that Scott Baio (of TV’s “Happy Days” and “Charles in Charge” fame).  Silly me, because Baio’s potent onscreen charisma is the primary reason that “Bread” has jumped off the relentless small film-fest circuit (where it has garnered positive word-of-mouth since 2001) and landed itself a wide theatrical release.

Baio plays Dominic, a slick corporate raider with a post-graduate degree from Stanford who callously terminates minions by day, and bakes sweet and elegant pastries by night.  His popular biscotti shop/bakery is a family affair, run by brothers Eddie and Pino (Billy Mott and Shuler Hensley), and located in a quaint brick building in Pittsburgh’s Strip District that also houses elderly Italian immigrants Bella (Rosemary Prinz) and her churlish husband Massimo (John Seitz).

When surrogate mother Bella is taken seriously ill, Dominic is bereft, and unwavering in his determination to make Bella’s long-time dream of a fantasy wedding for her absentee daughter (Kristin Minter as Lucca) come true.

It may scream low budget, but “Bread” has a spirit that cannot be denied.  Dominic’s grasp of the deeper meaning of his existence, his custodial care of mentally-challenged brother Pino, and his desire to sacrifice all for the nurturing Bella is a beautiful sight to behold.  Prinz’s Bella is an enchanting, animated “nonna”.

 In a world where the future is stored dollar by hard-earned dollar in kitchen coffee cans, love and good bread are an eloquent combination.