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Alice's House (2007)
"A Casa de Alice" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama  |  15 November 2007 (Brazil)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 514 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 4 user | 32 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

Alice, married for the last 20 years to a taxi driver, works in a beauty parlour, has three children, the eldest of whom is doing his military service, and a mother who works as a maid in ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Carla Ribas ...
Berta Zemel ...
Vinicius Zinn ...
Ricardo Vilaça ...
Felipe Massuia ...
Junior
Zécarlos Machado ...
Lindomar (as Zé Carlos Machado)
Renata Zhaneta ...
Carmen
Luciano Quirino ...
Nilson
Mariana Leighton ...
Thais
Dirce Couto ...
Neide
Jorge Cerruti ...
Toninho
Talita Craveiro ...
Vanessinha
Elias Andreato ...
Seu Gabriel
Claudio Jaborandy ...
Evanildo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cícero Augusto ...
Carlinhos Abranches
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Storyline

Alice, married for the last 20 years to a taxi driver, works in a beauty parlour, has three children, the eldest of whom is doing his military service, and a mother who works as a maid in her house. None of the three siblings pay much attention to their mother, and they treat their grandmother with lack of respect. Alice's life in the female working world contrasts strongly with the powerful masculine presence in her home. Although she's a good girl, the chance to betray uncovers other betrayals she didn't know existed. Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In every house you never know what secrets lie behind the front door

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

15 November 2007 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Alice's House  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$19,083 (USA) (25 January 2008)

Gross:

$61,678 (USA) (25 April 2008)
 »

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was shot entirely on location in São Paulo, Brazil, using a real apartment and a real beauty salon. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Overrated investigation on the middle-class has some fine acting
18 December 2008 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

"A Casa de Alice", the first fiction feature film by docu-maker Chico Teixeira, wouldn't be far from your regular soap opera if not for the way the camera investigates the characters -- instead of concentrating on facial expressions and dialog, it's the body language that interests Teixeira and that ultimately gives us the insight on the various characters (not unlike Susanne Bier's camera).

There's nothing about the story/plot/characters that you haven't seen before, except maybe that ALL the characters are ambiguous: Alice and her husband have affairs on the side; Alice's old mother has ailing eyesight but is the only one who sees every sordid thing that's going about; Alice's oldest son, Edinho, is a G.I. who's a male prostitute in his spare time; the middle son, Lucas, is granny's favorite but also a petty thief (that includes stealing from granny); angel-faced Junior, the youngest son, knows how to get the things he wants by being calculatedly adorable and cute. The ambiguity also applies to the supporting characters, like innocent-looking devilish neighbor Thais, or Alice's soft-talk lover Nilson.

There's serious misery-index in the film: everyone's frustrated and unhappy and in love with people who don't love them back. The single exception -- the one requited love -- is the urgent, possessive, alternately delicate and passionate bond (it's not clear whether actual intercourse is involved, though there are strong suggestions) between brothers Edinho and Junior. The camera lingers three or four extra beats on their mutual gazing and caresses and obvious horniness for each other -- so much so that their relationship nearly takes over the film.

The acting is fine all around, and Carla Ribas goes all the way in her bravura performance (she has won an array of awards for it), though she isn't quite convincing in the physique du role department: we're always aware she obviously doesn't come from the same world as Alice -- her fine skin, her voice, her accent belong to a higher social class. Theatrical legend Berta Zemel, as the elderly mother, shows all her skill in an almost silent part. But the finest, most thrilling acting comes from the three boys (all of them first-timers) who play the sons and nail their shadowy characters with perfection, with not one false note: they're the main reason to see "Alice".

The final third and the denouement are impossibly contrived (I don't want to enter spoiler territory); in such a realistic slice-of-life piece, it comes as a real disappointment. Anyway, the film may serve as a curio for non-Brazilian audiences who wrongly identify Brazilian films solely with favelas, drugs or gory violence -- Brazilian films about the struggles, dreams and frustrations of the middle classes are a century-long tradition and a big part of Brazilian cinema. Connoisseurs will certainly recall many that have more strength, insight and depth than this intermittently interesting, slow, grim, overrated and undeniably finely-acted "A Casa de Alice".


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