Top image: Netflix
In what starts out as a warm, feel-good coming out scene, the jockish Dario (Matteo Oscar Giuggioli) confesses his love to Leone (Francesco Gheghi), with the fallacious assumption that since Leone has two gay dads, he must be gay as well.
In response, Leone’s eyes widen, and the look of exasperation on his face is palpable. What?
Just because Leone’s parents are gay doesn’t mean he is too—Dario’s parents are straight, but that doesn’t mean he is, right? Leone does not believe that he has to explain this to Dario but explains it he does. So ingrained is this into Dario’s mind that his response is, “How can you not be gay?” A comedy of errors results, especially since Leone harbours affections for Dario’s straight sister Anna (Giulia Maenza).
It’s this careful balance between humour and honesty that differentiates The Invisible Thread from many other films that revolve around LGBTQ+ issues. The Italian comedy-drama is a Netflix film that revolves around gay couple Paulo (Filippo Timi) and Simone (Francesco Scianna) and their adopted son, Leone. As much as they love their family, the two protagonists are human, after all—and just like any other marriage, they have their own trials and tribulations.
Living in a (mostly) straight world, they have their fair share of “Dear Straight People” moments—like how homophobic people always claim they have “many gay friends” that nobody has met before. In the show, a secretly homophobic woman makes a big grand gesture of “accepting” the family of two fathers before revealing her true thoughts—that she thinks it’s not normal.
The misconception the straight people carry, of course, is that being gay means that you are somehow not human, a misconception that infiltrates our laws and mindsets in today’s world, like Singapore’s futile attempt at preventing the repeal of 377A.
But the burden of proving this, that they are human, lies on the queer folks. Even Leone, the straight son of the two fathers, has to clear up misconceptions simply because he’s brought up in a gay environment. Thankfully, the show approaches this without devolving into the angst by undercutting it with some laughs and reactions. Still, it doesn’t take away from the key message that they’re human—in fact, we’re all human, regardless of our orientation.
Yet it’s something they constantly have to explain and continuously have to prove. Can you imagine how exhausting it is to have to continually remind fellow human beings that you, too, are human? The Invisible Thread wields this reminder with plenty of humour and is less didactic than other shows that have touched on the same topic. Unfortunately, it also means that it’s a topic that people need reminding of.
That we are all human.
And that’s the point of The Invisible Thread—they’re human, warts and all. Humans who succumb to temptation, humans who have flaws, humans who make mistakes. But underscoring all that is love. Both the fathers love their adopted son, Leone. And it’s when their flaws are tempered by love that the beauty of their humanity shines through. It doesn’t matter whether they’re gay or not, because being human and being gay are not mutually exclusive.
Is that so irreconcilable?
But then, there’s a little Dario in all of us. Straight people have misconceptions about gays. Gays have misconceptions about asexuals. Asexuals have misconceptions about straight people and gays. We all forget that despite our differences, we’re all human beings. So maybe it’s not exasperation that we should react with, but a little more patience and understanding.
Ultimately, that’s how The Invisible Thread ends. All’s well that ends well—despite their differences, Leone’s dads still show that they love the family. In the end, the central conflict is resolved because each person takes the effort to be a little more understanding. If only we could apply that in the real world too. It might sound a bit sappy, but it’s true. As The Invisible Thread reminds us, it’s an invisible thread that links us all together—as humans.
The Invisible Thread is funny and authentic, with moments that both touch and tickle. But its greatest beauty is its message of patience, love, and understanding. Remembering that we’re all human is a good place to start, whether it be in fictional worlds or real ones. And perhaps one day, we’ll awaken to a world where being straight or gay doesn’t matter.
People are people, after all, regardless of whatever demographic they want to be in. The Invisible Thread is a poignant reminder of that.
The Invisible Thread
Director: Marco Simon Puccioni
Writers: Luca De Bei and Marco Simon Puccioni
Cast: Filippo Timi (Paolo Ferrari), Francesco Scianna (Simone Lavia), Francesco Gheghi (Leone Ferrari), Giulia Maenza (Anna Del Monte), Jodhi May (Tilly Nolan), and Oscar Giuggioli (Dario Del Monte).
Running Time: 103 minutes
Genres: Comedy, Drama