The Second Mother (2015) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
38 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Nuanced and tender social study.
Sergeant_Tibbs15 September 2015
Brazilian filmmaking won me over a lot last year with the sensitive, funny and uplifting The Way He Looks, now I'm back in Brazil's court with the endearing The Second Mother. Their filmmakers doing domestic drama the way America should be, taking it in humanistic ways without over-complication. It's a simple setup, one organic and truthful despite how nuanced the drama is. When Val's estranged teenage daughter comes to stay with the affluent family she lives with and serves, the balance is upset by her simply using their pool and eating their ice cream. It highlights the social constructs which are assumed with certain boundaries and duties. The family considers Val part of the family, but far from treats her like one, and Regina Case's performance as Val is effortless and stellar. The film points out those hypocrisies in a well defined, lightly comedic and dramatically satisfying way. Writer/director Anna Muylaert knows how to play all her cards right, including careful mise en scene to distinguish the dichotomies between class and their spaces. The film is a whisper with its quiet drama, but its implications are loud, striking a tender chord.

30 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Best Brazilian movie since Central Station
eduardo_zdanowicz13 September 2015
This movie does a exceptional analysis of the modern Brazilian society, showing the difference of classes and how this is deal inside the family houses. The viewers of the movie start seeing themselves in the role of the employers of the housemaids and realize that actually they already did a lot of situations that they consider absurd. This start causing a discomfort on the the spectator and make them think in the model of society that they live. With a strong direction but still feel free for improvisation, this movie is one of the best Brazilian in years. Since Central Station we do not see a movie that is so well related to Brazilian reality of segregation and difference of classes. Perfect performances (not only of the main roles, but all characters in the movie), beautiful photography and really well done soundtrack this movie put again Brazil on the track of countries who can show their reality in their own way.
29 out of 41 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Really relevant
Red_Identity18 January 2016
It's not everyday that we get a film like this, not willing to really dive into the political, social issues that pervade everyday life, and the cultural barriers and differences that micro- aggressions really make. The acting in this is superb, especially from Regina Case. It's all very natural and in the vein of real life, to an almost unbearably disturbing extent. The screenplay and directing are superb. None of it is at all showy, but it all builds up to quietly powerful, and deeply emotional, moments and scenes. The characterization is rich and it all really sneaks up on you in terms of its effect. definitely recommended, although it's not for those wanting loud or showy extravaganza.
12 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the best movie of this year
wel200528 August 2015
Organic film, the kind where everything fits and grows with the viewer so the lights come on, It is a work to be revered. Ana Muylaert builds a narrative that speaks of class relationship, the role of women in society as a mother, daughter, professional, also speaks of social segregation and changes in the Brasil in these two decades of democracy. It is a simple film, but not for everyone - does not have the appeal of globofilmes comedies, twists, striking scenes - it's all very subtle and sensitive.

Spent most of the time in an upper middle class mansion, the rooms it is also almost characters. From the kitchen to the guest room, the director gives meaning to the spaces, to the pool, to objects, to food. Veteran Regina Case plays Val, maid sleeping in the closet maid, knowing their place in the world, while the daughter, played by newcomer Camila Mardia, recently coming from the northeast to take entrance exams for architecture, it is a pioneering, a sentient , a citizen.

Award at the Berlin Film Festival and Sundance, What Time, surprisingly, is making blockbuster in European countries and pointed out by specialist as probable nominated for the Oscar. It's a cracker too, in my view, to reach the general public. I hope you get it. It is on my list of best films of the year and will be on the list of many influential critics around the world.
28 out of 41 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Examining Brazilian class differences: "This country is really changing"
paul-allaer2 October 2015
"The Second Mother" (2015 release from Brazil; 112 min.; original title "Que Horas Ela Volta?" or "What Time Will She Be Back?") brings the story of Val, who has been working as a live-in maid for many years (later we learn it's about 15 years) at a well-off family in Sao Paolo. She's part of the family, yet of course knows the rules of the do's and don't's that come with being the maid. Then out of the blue appears Val's daughter Jessica, whom she hasn't seen in years. Jessica wants to study to take the entrance test at the FAU (Architecture and Urbanization School). As it happens, Fabinho, the son of the family, is as well. On top of that, Jessica has different ideas as to what rules she should or shouldn't abide by, being the daughter of the live-in maid. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments; this is the latest movie from noted Brazilian writer-director Anna Muylaert (a very Belgian name indeed). She has previously brought us "The Year My Parents Went On Vacation", among others. Here she looks at the class differences in Brazilian society, something that Brazilian cinema has a long history and track record in. There are a number of telling scenes in the movie, none more so (for me anyway) when Jessica tells the well-off family that she plans to take the notoriously difficult and selective FAU entrance exam. "This country is really changing" mutters the mother, in what could be a positive way, but really is a condescending tone. While the movie is billed as a drama, there are plenty of lighter moments in it as well, usually courtesy of Regina Case in the role of Val. The whole movie is on her shoulder, and she does is with a wink and a smile. As to the movie's US title, which departs significantly from the original title, you will see in the movie that there are several ways to interpret that. One minor negative is that the movie is a bit long for its own good. With some tighter editing, this could've been about 15 min. shorter without losing much. But in the end it's a minor quibble.

I saw this movie on what turned out to be the last day of its one week run at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. Not surprisingly, the early evening screening where I saw this at was not well attended. Maybe this will find a second life when it comes out on DVD. If you are in the mood for a top quality foreign movie that's short on 'action' but long on substance, you cannot go wrong with this, be it at the theater, on VOD or on DVD/Blu-ray. "The Second Mother" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
13 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Class Conflict and Generation Gap
claudio_carvalho18 March 2016
In São Paulo, the housekeeper Val (Regina Casé) has been working for Carlos (Lourenço Mutarelli) and Bárbara (Karine Teles) in their elegant house at Morumbi since their teenager son Fabinho (Michel Joelsas) since he was a child. Her estranged teenager daughter Jéssica (Camila Márdila), who lives in Pernambuco, was raised by her father and another woman but financially supported by Val. When Jéssica calls her mother to tell that she will travel to São Paulo to do the entrance exam for one of the best universities in São Paulo, Val asks permission to her employers to bring Jéssica to her room. They agree and the teenager is welcomed by the family. But soon she becomes a problem to Val since she does not follow the usual submission of maids, breaking the class barriers in the house and bringing disturbance to the relationships.

"Que Horas Ela Volta?" is a low-budget Brazilian film with an original story of class conflict and generation gap. Regina Casé has an outstanding performance in the role of a woman incapable to raise her own daughter since she needs to work as nanny of the son of her employers. She seeks redemption in the end expecting to raise her grandson. The cast is magnificent and the feeling of guilty of Val is easy to be understood. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Que Horas Ela Volta?" ("At What Time Does She Come Back?")
10 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Nanny films never looked better.
jdesando24 September 2015
For those of us who have known nannies, the easiest generalization we can make is it's too bad she can't be with her own children. Well. Anna Muylaert's Brazilian film, The Second Mother, shows what happens when nanny-housekeeper Val (Regina Case) in an upper-class Sao Paulo home has her estranged, grown daughter, Jessica (Camila Mardila), stay with her before Jessica takes her college exams.

The disappointment Jessica feels about her mother's subservient life seems natural enough given Jessica's ambition to be an architect. The real conflict is within Val's heart where Jess's openness with the family Val serves and their embracing her as an equal can't abide Val's lifetime of service, which teaches never to intrude, never assume a place at their table, never swim in their pool. All of which Jess gleefully does.

The remarkable character of this film is how it reflects the points of views of mom and daughter without judging the appropriateness of either position. Jess is often described as being snobbish and Val too easily cowed by the family. The film's generous heart allows enough time for each of the principals to grow in understanding the other.

The Second Mother spends too little time on the interpersonal relationships and ends without solid resolution of the characters' differences. What neither mom nor daughter seems to get is that the stark class divide in Brazil brooks no exceptions; in effect, Val will be stuck here for the rest of her life, and Jess will escape through education. The film seems to suggest that the upper-class Val serves is impenetrable except through marriage or education.

"Why do elites hate the poor? It's xenophobia. They don't know any poor people - except their off-the-books Brazilian nanny and illegal immigrant cleaning lady from Upper Revolta who don't speak English." P. J. O'Rourke
19 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
How could you not love this woman?
MikeyB17932 December 2015
Regina Case gives a heartfelt performance as the maid to a rich and rather snobby family – and as the mother to her long lost daughter. It is after the daughter reunites with the mother after a long ten year absence (not clearly explained) that the wheels of this film really start to churn to generate tension, but also immense warmth.

Even though the film does meander now and then – every scene with Regina Case as surrogate mother to her adopted household, especially the son, and the real mother of her daughter gives off an energy of feeling and vitality. It is beautiful to behold the radiation that emanates in all her scenes. And its' nice to walk out of a film with the milk of human kindness – a rarity these days.
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
São Paulo Snapshot
clarkj-565-16133630 August 2015
I believe this movie is an accurate depiction of a typical upper middle class or upper class Brazilian household. There is a clear and well defined divide between the haves and the have nots. Val the maid lives in a small room and comes from the impoverished North East of Brazil (just as former President Lula did!). I think the film maker wanted to paint a picture of stark contrasts, somewhat like a film version of Casa-Grande & Senzala by Gilberto Freyre (discussed the various classes and races in Brazil 1933). Although the mother was a pretty overbearing one percenter, I don't think she is unique and could be found anywhere! The father was pretty cool, absolutely nothing phoney about him, all up front. The movie presents the Vestibular University entrance exam system. The system does not distinguish applicants based on societal position. Also the best Universities are free, so we can all learn something from Brazil. Parabéns.
13 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Have class differences really been abolished?
silvia_rm_sp1 September 2015
A subtle look into the not very subtle work relations in Brazil, where slavery is all but truly abolished. After working for over 10 years both as nanny and housemaid to an upper middle class family in São Paulo, Val is supposedly regarded as one of the family, occupying, however, shabby and crammed quarters in the beautiful mansion of her employers. When the family agrees to welcome Val's daughter for a short time while she sits for college admission exams, everyone gets a lot more than they bargained for. The bright girl's presence will affect the whole household, putting to the test the politically correct attitude of the employers to their employees and making evident the full hypocrisy of the situation. The material director and screenplay writer Muylaert deals with is potentially both tragic and comic. She has wisely chosen comedy, but not the laughing out loud kind. This film will put a light smile on your face while making you a little uncomfortable at the same time, particularly if, like most Brazilians, you don't really see everyone in society exactly as your equal.
11 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Brazilian tale of domestic service and a mother's love
t-dooley-69-38691624 January 2016
This is billed as a comedy and stars Regina Casé as the maid to a rich family in Sao Paulo. She has raised the families' son and takes care of everything for them from walking the dog, making the meals to trimming the hedge. Then her estranged daughter asks to come and stay and she is overjoyed having been separated for ten years.

However, her daughter is a modern free thinker and just does not get the social divide that separates her and her mother from these rich folk and the inevitable clashes start from the get go.

Now as a film on social commentary this is all straight forward and we don't really need to be told that money buys privilege. Whilst as a character piece it works a lot better with the various players establishing where they sit in the hierarchy of life and how that will affect those around them. It is a gentle film, not really a comedy, and will not tax you too much. Its original Portuguese title is "Que Horas Ela Volta?". Some have hailed this as a master piece and others have said it is pointless in that it brings nothing new. I found it to be enjoyable but not one I would rush out and buy – I rented this – but it's one that passes the time very agreeably and is far from being the land mark some have hailed it to be but is also far from being a lamentable waste of time.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A movie about family, opportunities and thinking
gulherme10 February 2016
Que horas ela volta is one of the best magical realism movie from our time. The main argument of this movie is about social relationships, familiar and professional ones, and beyond a sociology analysis of Brazilian society.

The movie has a strong social message because is so close to the really, and so daily habits, we are used to social segregation in the same house, we forget it is so bad, and unfair with ourself. The movies leave us to think about basic things, for example, how different opportunities low and middle class has to access university, and how small habits can have a huge impact in the future.

The movies support his vision not in a philosophical phrases or beautiful quotes, but in reality, everything in the movie is so real and close to ourself that director don't need use Foucault or Marx text, he just show a mirror of the reality, and it is way this movies is about magical realism, but not realism magical. And it is why hurts.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fascinating study of Brazilian class relations
lucasversantvoort18 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
There have been many films about class relations: Renoir's La Règle du Jeu and so on. The best of the bunch manage to analyze class differences--and similarities--in intriguing ways. Que Horas Ela Volta? is one of those films.

Val is a housemaid for an upper-class family in São Paulo. She lives miles away from her daughter Jéssica, but the job allows her to provide for her which lessens the pangs of guilt at least somewhat. Val actually lives in the residence, works very hard and in the thirteen years that pass, she forms a motherly bond with the son, Fabinho. His actual mother, Bárbara, is very career-oriented, you see, so you can see why he latches onto Val. We see how Val is simultaneously well off, but not truly respected. She presents Bárbara with a gift: a set of cups with a black/white color pattern. Bárbara acts as if she's pleasantly surprised and tells Val they'll save it for a special occasion. Well, the special occasion arrives, a party. Val brings out the cups, but Bárbara berates her, having already forgotten Val gifted them to her. Then one day, Val gets a call from Jéssica who's looking to participate in the admission exam at the University of São Paulo. She'd need a place to stay. Val, of course, immediately agrees, but what Jéssica doesn't know is that Val takes her work home with her, so to speak. It turns out that Jéssica is very confident and smart and it immediately becomes clear her presence will shake up this upper-class residence quite a bit.

This being a film about class relations, it makes sense that this is the most stimulating aspect. It's funny to see this rich family's discomfort when the housemaid's daughter--of all people--appears more confident and smarter than Fabinho. Or note the similarities in expectations: Val works in almost slave-like fashion, but doesn't rebel, because she's been brought up with the notion that this is the way the world works. The rich family obviously holds similar opinions, otherwise they'd treat Val better. Another interesting thing to note is the role of the mother (the English title for the film is The Second Mother). Val hasn't been the mother to Jéssica she feels she should have been due to the literal distance between them. Then you've got Bárbara whose relationship with Fabinho is pretty much non-existent despite the fact they occupy the same living space.

The film almost risks falling into the familiar trap of showing the lower class folks to be real human beings as opposed to the upper class scumbags whose morals and decency have slowly eroded over the years in the pursuit of the almighty dollar (or peso), etc. While Val and Jéssica - and thus the 'lower class' - ultimately triumph, the overall portrayal of these characters remains nuanced and believable.

And that's how I'd describe the entire film: nuanced and believable. I do think Val's character development could've been paid more attention (particularly toward the end) and Jéssica could've been introduced a little sooner as that's when film really comes alive, but overall it's a good examination of class relations that doesn't get bogged down in melodrama.
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A unique and interesting exploration of class in Brazil.
alexrene-8005411 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Val is a housekeeper for a wealthy family in São Paulo Brazil. Despite being like "part of the family" and raising the family's son, Fabinho, as if he were her own son, Val has been separated from her own family for many years as she works to make money to support her daughter. When that daughter, Jessica, needs a place to stay while she studies for her entrance exam for a prestigious college in São Paulo, Val is all too eager to be reunited with the child she had to leave behind so many years ago. Val has been a live-in housekeeper/nanny for the family for years, and the issues begin when Jessica quickly shows that she has no respect for the unspoken rules that govern class within the household. The title of the film roughly translates to "When will she return?" and the theme of mothers separated from their children reappears throughout the film. Val and Jessica are not close because Jessica was raised by family while Val made money to support her. Fabinho and Dona Barbara are similarly estranged by her career. This film explores the dynamic and class boundaries within the household. Although Val considers herself part of the family, Jessica's disruptive presence quickly reveals that this is not quite the case. Val is also physically separated from the family, dwelling within her own domain in the kitchen and constantly eavesdropping on the conversations that take place in the dining room just through the open doorway. Que Horas Ela Volta? is hilarious, well-acted, and at times a little uncomfortable to watch. Val and Jessica may not disassemble class structure in Brazil, but the ridiculous and sometimes demeaning treatment that Val receives from Dona Barbara does cause the viewer to reject that treatment, which is a start.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Harsh Reality
ejhoffman30 November 2017
This movies tells the interesting story of a nanny, Val, and her daughter, Jessica. The two have not seen each other in about ten years, and out of the blue, Jessica calls and is on her way to Sao Paolo to begin applying for university. The rest of the movie is a portrayal of Jessica and Val's rocky relationship over the socioeconomic classes that dictate Val's oppressed behavior. The most confusing part of the story for me is Jessica's aggressive reaction to her mother's position within the family that she is serving. The movie does not go into much details as to where Jessica was raised, but it is hinted that she came from the northeast. Her attitude is almost entitled as if she too is coming from the highest of the socioeconomic class of Brazil. While I disagree with the manner in which Val is treated by the family, there are certain social graces that most people understand regardless of socioeconomic class. Jessica's aggressive behavior causes a lot of tension between her and her mother, and I still do not understand where this is coming from. WE do not know if she is coming from a higher socioeconomic class than her mother. My theory is that she maybe is harboring a little bit of jealousy. Val has more or less been the mother figure to the son of the family, Fabrinho. While Jessica at a young age, had her mother stolen from her, Fabrinho had two. Sort of. Val seems to be kinder and more caring towards this young boy that is not even her own child. As a daughter, that must be hard to watch, and that is why I believe that Jessica is a little aggressive in her behavior at the family's home. The children of the domestic workers are almost getting the short end of the stick. She had to grow up without really knowing her mother, at the same time that her mother was taking care of a child that is not her own.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An Amusing Tale Of Motherhood, Social Hierarchy & The Roles Each Class Is Expected To Play Without Being Told.
CinemaClown20 March 2016
A brilliant rendition of the prevalent but unspoken class differences in every society which further benefits from the writer-director's clear understanding of the relationship between an employer & an employee, The Second Mother is a measured, introspective & finely balanced story that takes a straightforward approach in tackling its themes but also offers plenty of laughs in between.

Set in São Paolo, Brazil, The Second Mother (also known as Que Horas Ela Volta?) tells the story of Val, a hardworking & live-in housekeeper who has served her employers well for over a decade but has to live with the guilt of leaving her daughter behind. However, when Val's daughter decides to visit her, the existing class divide between the servants & their employers is thrown into disarray.

Written & directed by Anna Muylaert, The Second Mother doesn't take much time in setting up its plot and swiftly briefs us through Val's daily routine plus the trust she has garnered over the years. Muylaert's direction shows great composure, all characters exhibit a well defined arc, and while the plot brims with lots of heart & warmth, it's always ready to take a witty bite when opportunity surfaces.

Further enhancing the film's urban look n feel are its posh set pieces, bright colour tones & smooth camera-work when operating inside the house. Its 112 minutes of runtime unfolds like a breeze, the technical aspects are kept remarkably simple & wonderfully compliment the whole narrative, while the cast leaves no stone unturned to bring its interesting characters to life in a convincing manner.

Coming to the acting department, the best performance comes from Regina Casé for her work as Val is absolutely sensational & she's the one who keeps everything glued together. Camila Márdila plays Val's daughter whose arrival & disregard for existing social norms results in an invisible layer of uneasiness between the two mothers while the rest of the supporting cast ably play their given roles.

On an overall scale, The Second Mother is an enjoyable, entertaining & delightfully amusing tale of motherhood, social hierarchy & the roles each class is expected to play without being verbally told. Regina Casé's performance is the real highlight here but it doesn't mean that the input by others is underwhelming. Filled with meaty characters & never losing its funny edge, The Second Mother is definitely a pleasant surprise.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The kind of movie the critics like.
Quietb-19 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Here's a small interesting movie from Brazil. It's the story of the family housekeeper who loves and raises the family child while her own daughter is raised elsewhere. Sparks fly when her daughter comes to stay with the family and doesn't know her place.

It is an interesting tale of class distinction told in a straight forward manner. The performances are solid from top to bottom. Perhaps the dog could have showed more interest as she was asleep or standing at the door to get off the set.

It's the kind of movie the critics will like. It subject matter doesn't feel raw enough for a major foreign language award nomination. It starts on the slow side and there are spots where the script had to rely on weather.

It's a small movie that will not get a broad distribution. Don't worry if you can't find it in a theater as it will play well on home formats.
4 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
danieldunck17 September 2015
(Sorry for my English): The story basically follows this bourgeois family is shaken by the daughter of the maid who came for entrance exams. I liked the movie naturalness of conversation. In some movies conversations happen flawlessly without any nervousness, something we know to be false in everyday life, but in this film was made with mastery. Movies like this show actually reality and move us. Many Brazilians may have felt uncomfortable with the film, but the film shows the reality of many Brazilian families (guarded the proper proportions). In my opinion, after finishing the film, I realized it tries to show that meritocracy and capitalism are very selfish indeed of things to think about. This movie deserves at least be nominated for a few Oscars.
5 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A movie to make you regret spending your money on a ticket.
fefazin22 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
A movie basically about people that arouses no deeper feelings inside of you other than scorn and shame. Even if you think hard, no character at all evokes any sympathy or compassion, and it is like being tortured for two hours with lame dialogs between mediocre people. So, if you like going to the movies to be touched, to feel involved with characters, consider twice before buying a ticket, unless you are a dishonest, pothead mediocre person with a failed and despiteful life then maybe you will enjoy it. If you liked the movie and are none of the above, maybe you just have a terrible taste for movies.'

Main Characters

The Boss Father: Inherited a lot of money from the parents, so he doesn't need to work and can be home leading a mediocre life smoking, eating ice cream and grudging on the fact he is a sh*t of an artist. Married to a fat pig and with a poor relationship with her, he tries to seduce the Maids daughter, adding another moral failure and misdeed to the infinite list of defeats in his life. Thin and weak as a moribund, you can only feel disdain for this pitiful character.

The Boss Mother : Fat and superficial, compensating the fact she is a whale with expensive clothing and life-style, surrounded by the Fashion media and social events about superficial sh*t. Terrible Mother, leaves her son to be looked after by the Maid. She suffers and have fits from lack of love and attention from her husband and son, making herself a victim, because she probably forgets she married rat for money and that she neglects her son since his birth. On the rare moments she is talking at dinner time with her teenage son, she advises him that he can smoke weed, because herself and her husband had smoked a lot of weed during their lives, but that he should "slow down" and don't smoke all day long. A good and generous employer in spite of everything described here.

The Boss Junior: Typical middle-class Brazilian teenager, smokes weed all day, doesn't study and is most concerned about his virginity and enjoying life. Fails on Exams for College, something which was already for granted due to his lifestyle. The parents, instead of teaching him a lesson and making him make up for his failure studying more, give him as a solace a Trip abroad to Australia so he can "study" there. The stupid teenager, after crying all the previous day long about his results on the Exams, all depressed in bed, appears smiling and excited about all the nice beaches he will meet in Australia. This method is very popular in Brazil, mainly on middle class, on teaching stupid teenagers how to deal with failures and consequence, and values on effort and reward.

Maid: Makes you rage in the first scenes of the Film when she returns the pot to Boss Junior and at the end, after quitting, when she steals the cups and coffee pot back (and laughs about it with her daughter - for Brazilians, stealing from those who have a bit more money than you, or your boss, is OK). Her personality shifts when her daughter starts living with her, and by end of the Film she passes the idea that she starts thinking being an employee is humiliating.

Daughter: Makes you range from the very first minute she shows up on the screen until the very end. She is abusive and has a distorted personality, leeching her mother and everyone around her, with no regard to her mother's job or the fact she was an intruder staying as a favour. She also 'innocently' enticed the Boss' desires by welcoming his proximity and favours. At the end of the Film she was the main reason her mother quit her job. In the end, both of them are unemployed and have a kid to take care of, but all they're worried about is having a cup of coffee and laughing about the stolen porcelain.
15 out of 60 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"A class struggle"
leslieaddleman4 December 2017
It is a story centered on the life of Val, a maid who lives serving a high-class family 24 hours a day, where Don Carlos is a billionaire and his wife Barbara is a design professional, there is also his son Fabricio, a very spoiled child. Val has a daughter and takes her to live with her. When Jessica arrives at that house, everything changes. Jessica belongs to another generation and does not accept that her mother is treated badly. She demands that Val does not resign herself to living like this all her life serving and that she seeks other aspirations. It shows Val's lack of his own dignity due to his education and social beliefs. It also shows the tragedy of some mothers who dedicate themselves to work more and do not dedicate themselves to the upbringing of their children, which causes the lack of love of their children to their mothers. This film clearly shows the social divisions that still exist in these times. But also in this new generation, this problem can be broken with the independence of equal rights as shown when going to university equally. A second mother is a film that shows the social classes and opportunities in Brazil today. It also brings us closer to two different generations of mother and daughter and the struggle for aspirations of equality, tolerance, and respect. Which I think carries a positive and optimistic message for the new generations.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
insightful and comical
SnoopyStyle4 September 2016
Val is the live-in maid for an affluent family in São Paulo. Dona Bárbara is the boss. Her husband José Carlos is a failed artist but the family's money is an inheritance from his father. Their only child Fabinho has been raised almost entirely by Val. She is essentially her mother. She is "almost family". Her biological daughter Jessica is almost 18 and raised by her relatives. She arrives to stay with the family while she takes the University entrance exam. She is outspoken and starts causing friction in the home.

There are some insightful and comical characterizations. There are a couple of minor problems. Carlos asking Jessica to marry him is awkward. It's not funny although there is a point to it. I just think it could be done better. The other point is Val standing in the pool. It would have been a great moment to end the movie. The last section drags on and on. There is a story element that gives the movie poetic symmetry but in the whole, it's better to end it on a high. This is an interesting movie with interesting characters.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Only the poor people will go to heaven !
jules12020003 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The thriller is supposed to portray the life of a maid in the house of an upper medium class family in Sao Paolo and the arrival of her daughter in order to enter the university in SP and all the hardship she suffers there being a modern , independent woman. IMO this thriller is very biased and unrealistic. In this caricaturist portrait all the employers are shown as vain, lazy, stupid pot smokers, and the poor are hard workers, intelligent with all the qualities.Unrealistic because the chance of a girl coming from the chaotic Brazilian public shool to succeed in a vestibular entrance exam in the big city is less than zero.Not fair with the tax payers since the movie is sponsored by public companies ( see the credits in the start). A part from the obvious message of class fight , the racist way the maid is treated , there is a more interesting conflict in my opinion, which is that some families are separated for years , in order to make a living. The movie has its merits but the final result is compromised by a lack of a firm hand of the director.
10 out of 53 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The social situation,
danisuperpoderosa27 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Brazil was one of the last countries to abolish slave work, at 1888. Since then, a lot of things changed, but the gap between employee and employer is still big. This movie is a slap on the face of employers ( a necessary slap though): is touching, funny and straight at the same time..... and Val's accent is the icing on the cake! It's really cool to notice that Val came from Pernambuco to São Paulo because she was looking for a job, while her daughter (representing the new generation) came to SP because of the college entrance exams. Times are changing in Brasil.... Another fun fact: there was a free movie session in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro only for maids !! (Sorry for any English mistakes, i'm Brazilian.)
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Classism in Muylaert's Que Horas Ela Vota?
lmirandalcii4 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Que Horas Ela Volta? (2015), directed by Anna Muylaert, tells the story of Val—a live-in nanny/maid who serves and tends to a wealthy couple and their teenage son in São Paolo. Val has evidently worked for this family for quite a while and is often seemingly accepted as a member of this family. It is evidenced at various points throughout the story that Val essentially functions as a second mother to the boy, giving rise to the English title of this film, The Second Mother.

Not long into the film, it is unveiled that in order to work for this family, Val has left behind a family of her own, including her estranged daughter, Jéssica, with whom she has not spoken in a long time. Out of the blue, Val receives a call from Jéssica, who informs her mother that she will be visiting São Paolo in order to take a university placement exam. Val makes arrangements for her daughter to stay with her while she is in town and, though initially excited to meet Val's daughter, Val's employers become discontent when Jéssica refuses to accept her role as a "second-tier" individual. Contrary to their expectations, she openly eats at their table and does not stay confined to her mother's quarters. Instead, she sits at the main table and accepts meals and beverages from her mother's employer, Carlos. Carlos takes a romantic (and creepy) interest in Jéssica, allowing her to stay in the guest room instead of with Val. Without permission, Jéssica uses the pool, a privilege only the wealthy are supposed to have.

The breaking point of the film presents itself when Fabinho (the employers' son), who is the same age as Jéssica, does not get into the university, but Jéssica does. Bárbara (the patroness) refuses to accept Jéssica's rise—her disregard for the class system—and effectively kicks Jéssica out of her home. Though initially angry at Jéssica's reluctance to accept her social role, her mother Val eventually seems to come around to her disregard for classism, apparent toward the end of the film, when she joyously dances in her employers' half-empty pool.

On top of a great cast, this film is extremely well put-together and excels in its presentation and critique of this important social issue. As someone who grew up with immigrant, working-class parents, it is easy for me to relate to the struggles Jéssica faces as she grapples for acceptance.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Truly an amazing film
mcarman-8380327 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Que horas ela volta? makes my list of the top five films I've seen in 2017. It is a wonderfully crafted film which explores the intricacies of classism and sexism through the lens of a very likable and extremely caring protagonist. Val, a live-in maid nanny for a very rich family of three in São Paulo, leads a very routine life, cleaning, cooking and caring for her employer's son. Unfortunately, in order to do this and make a living she had to leave her daughter in the care of her friends and relatives back home in the North. Years go by without seeing Jéssica, and eventually a falling out occurs—even communication via telephone has ceased. Then, out of the blue, Val receives a call from Jéssica; she's coming to São Paulo in order to take placement exams to enter into one of the most elite universities in the country. Val is excited and prepares her a space in her room, with a new mattress bought by Dona Barbara, the mistress of the home. Unfortunately, everything doesn't go as Val plans. Chaos rules the day as the independent Jéssica clashes with social norms and the inherent inequality of her mother's position in the world.

The story-line of this film was not the only aspect of it which I enjoyed. Overall the acting, the political commentary, the cinematography and the emotional clarity of the movie drew me in. As a person from a place with very strict class distinctions and social rules to regulate interactions between classes, I found both Val's worries and Jéssica's hatred of the inequality she saw to be believable and relatable. If I were to pick any movie to show someone to introduce them to Latin American cinema, I would use this movie. It is a testament to the cinematographic abilities of Brazil and of its director Anna Muylaert.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed