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 »
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
This film is actually well-done for the "slice-of-life" style the director seemed to be pursuing. And if you are into hopeless, mundane, and somewhat plot less films with all the classic art-house, kitchen-sink reality clichés (watching people go to the bathroom, clipping their toenails, and washing laundry), than this film may be for you. Now, the proponents of this film will exclaim, "But it was so REAL!" Well true, but then again, so is your morning shower, you're commute to work, or watching your neighbor eat his dinner or mow his lawn. But that doesn't make it particularly interesting to sit through for 90 minutes.
The director is a documentary filmmaker, and certainly does a wonderful job of taking you into the protagonist's world. But, whether it's a world most people would want to spend much time in, is the real question Here, he basically makes a scripted documentary, with professional actors (who, to his credit, are first-rate). However, I can't possibly think of a less interesting subject matter than what he chose to explore here. The script meanders, with no real purpose. Now, it's fine if a filmmaker wants to simply follow characters around, and see what they do (as is done here), but he/she had better make sure those characters are interesting enough to hold our attention. The main problem is that there really is no script to speak of. Potential plot lines are introduced, but then never explored (I'm not quite sure why the sons are in the film at all except to show the additional misery in the protagonist's life), various shots have no real information in them, aside from, "this is what happens in the typical day of a middle-aged woman and her family", and scenes are kept running long after the audience has grasped what little there was to take from them.
It is important for a filmmaker to think, "why am I making this film? What do I want people to take from this?" Personally, what I walked away with was a sense that working-class Brazilian life is full of struggle and sadness (as is often the case with working-class American life), middle-aged people have extramarital affairs when the flame begins to flicker out of their partnerships, and that the elderly are often taken for granted and treated as indentured servants by their own family. Unfortunately, these are all things I knew already. And I'm not sure if there was much else to take from this film.
People talk about how snobby critics are, but after reading the gushing reviews for this film, I'm beginning to think the bar is getting dangerously low. Now, there have always been plot less films (that is practically the raison d'etre of French Cinema), but from Godard to Cassavetes to Antonione to Fassbinder and Bergman, these directors gave their audiences engaging characters to watch, and beautiful photography to marvel at on screen, and something to think about in the days after one left the theater. And I'm afraid that with more films like this receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews, we are getting into a level of "reality" where people will not even need to go to the movies anymore. They can simply wake up, grab their video camera, film the everyday banalities of their day, and save themselves a trip to the theater.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?