Karina Lafayette – November 2021
(There are no spoilers in this article.)
“You can spot days like these right away. You know nothing will go right.”
Cue in to the first scene, we’re introduced to Alice’s apartment. Clothes on the floor, a bottle of wine, and the impending feeling of doom that everyone has had at least a few times. I mean, it’s not every day that your former partner of five years decides to shack up with his new girlfriend not long after they got together.
Based on the novel by Silvia Zucca and directed by Bindu de Stoppani, An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts, on Netflix,begins with Alice (played by Claudia Gusmano), sitting pensively in the bathroom, thinking about where her life is heading. She has a decent job working as a Production Assistant at a tv studio. She lives on her own. She’s attractive, smart, and has a best friend. And yet, something is missing.
In the next scene, Alice is at a party, where she finds out her ex Carlo (Alberto Paradossi) is quick to ask his new love to marry him, and as if that isn’t enough, they’re having a baby.
We’ve all been there. Dedicating our time to someone, giving them our best, only to find out they were reserving their best for someone else, and we were just their “in-between” phase. At least, that’s how Alice feels. After all, what could be worse for people-oriented Libra than a failed relationship? Since the sun rules our ego, Libras are known for identifying themselves through their partners, and when that area of life is out of “balance”, all hell breaks lose. It’s not to say that a Libra can never be single, but they do very much need harmony with others to feel at ease. Nevertheless, Carlo is a free-spirited Aquarius, who’s more interested in living in the moment than dwelling on what could’ve been. Despite coming across as more conventional, he doesn’t always have regard for consequences. Because of this, Alice is left heartbroken, wondering what she could’ve done wrong. What she could’ve done more of to keep him.
At work, things are even worse, because Carlo and his fiance are also her colleagues, which means she has to see them- everyday. It seems everyone is always making demands of Alice, forcing her to put herself last.
In a twist of fate, she meets charming Tio, an actor and astrology expert, after accidentally wandering into the men’s washroom during a much needed break. Right off the bat, he guesses that she’s a Libra, but Alice is quick to dismiss him at first, all because she read somewhere that this was supposed to be a good year for her.
“You have Saturn Retrograde all month,” Tio explains later that day at lunch. “The sun just moved into Aries. Libras bear the brunt of a lot of complications both emotionally and professionally thanks to Venus.”
Honestly, I may or may not have screamed at my tv when he mentions Saturn being in retrograde.
Tio (played by Lorenzo Adorni) is a refreshing character who lives life on his terms and inspires others to do the same- and of course, he’s a Sagittarius. It’s lovely to see the plot break stereotypes when it comes to these subjects, since in books and movies, it’s often an older wise woman who we go to for guidance- like the Oracle in The Matrix. Instead, it’s obvious that even with his expertise, Tio is still learning about who he is and what makes him happy. Under his detached attitude is someone gentle and sensitive, which we see through the bond with his grandmother. And if there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s even though there are many famous astrologers of all genders, anytime we talk of astrology, it’s still ridiculed and painted as something for young women, or a pseudo science. In reality, it’s a subject that involves years of study and practice. Being intuitive has always been seen as a womanly thing, even though men can be just as intuitive, if only they were allowed to explore that part of themselves. Instead, they’re told that they’re more rational and logical, and that it’s impossible for them to see the world as anything more than what it appears to be.
Besides, you could study astrology forever and be barely scratching the surface. The planets are always changing and the learning continues. No two transits are quite the same, even if they involve the same planets.
After a failed date with an Aries and a brief flirtation with a Taurus, Alice asks Davide (Michele Rosiello), her new boss, to take her home. Davide is quiet, a perfectionist, and brooding, and other than work meetings, prefers to keep to himself. While sitting together on the front steps of the studio, Alice half-drunkenly asks him his sun sign, and he slyly brushes her off by refusing to answer. So you just know he’s got something in Virgo, Capricorn or Scorpio, because who else would be that secretive? While riding on the back of his motorcycle, she shares with Davide her idea for a tv show, where twelve people could meet their match based on the signs, and ‘Stars of Love’, the show within the show, is born.
Another thing that makes it enjoyable, is the fact that each episode is named after a different sign, the first being Aries. While the first few episodes do feature different love interests of those respectable signs, if you look closer, you’ll notice that the mood of each resonates with that sign. For example, in the fourth episode “Cancer”, a few scenes take place at Alice’s mother, since Cancer is the sign of family. In the following episode, “Leo”, there’s an interaction with her best friend Paola’s son, and Leo is the sign associated with children. All in all, the storytelling blends well with the arc of the characters, especially when you consider that every sign of the zodiac finishes what the sign before started. There’s also a theory that each one represents a different stage in a person’s life:
While obviously sun signs aren’t the key to compatibility and synastry, astrology as a whole can save a lot of headaches or at least, explain why you’re like that with people. One time, I was talking to a guy and no matter how much the attraction was there, we always seemed to be misunderstanding each other. Most of the synastry was great, but his Chiron was opposite my Mercury and really, he did say some pretty hurtful things. And surprisingly as an earth sign, I get on great with air signs. Since I’m a Virgo rising, Mercury compatibility is important for me. If I’m not feeling heard or have to repeat myself, I don’t care if you’re sexy. Of course that doesn’t stop me from being complicated, because there are aspects in my chart that still make me guilty of experiencing love at first sight. Sigh.
If there’s one criticism I do have, it’s that the first season is only six episodes. But don’t worry, now that the book is available everywhere, we’ll at least have that till the second season rolls around. What makes An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts so fun to watch, is that beyond having a set of relatable characters, it reminds us that when it comes to relationships, we really do have more power than we think. Whether you believe in astrology or not, you don’t have to put up with certain behaviors from people. You don’t have to stay friends with exes or settle for mediocre sex, just to have somebody. Like Alice starts to understand, you can say “no” to anyone who treats you less than you’re worth. You have the right to find your perfect match.
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This article was originally published on Medium.