The film begins with a pursuit scene that ends up with a man and a woman embracing each other delineated against a skyline of buildings and neon lights. Cut. The title "As borboletas também amam" is shown against a yellow backdrop and then, against a rose backdrop, we see the drawing of a butterfly and beside it, it's written: "Só a morte sabe as verdades da vida" (freely translated - Only death knows the secrets of life). And the quotation is signed: Goethe. A beautiful piano motif underlines it all.
The piano motif goes on. A beautiful woman is walking alone in the night looking at the shop windows. The men stare hungrily at her. A man accosts her and speaks with her. She leads him to a lounge bar. He asks her the traditional question. How did she end up like that?
She is Mônica (Angelina Muniz). She was a schoolgirl and lived with her parents in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro. The life they led was simple, no luxuries were allowed - Copacabana, beautiful clothes, disco nights.... just expensive and far away dreams. Sometimes Mônica went to Copacabana just to window shop, walk along the beach... One day Mônica is strolling in Copacabana and she meets her friend Virginia (Rossana Ghessa) together with some friends. One of them is Flavio.
Virginia, unknown to the others, is a high class hooker and she will introduce Mônica into this life. New characters and plot points will appear in the story that will later veer into melodrama territory and will become also a naive (and almost childish) statement against hypocrisy!
Even if "As borboletas também amam" is labeled as a pornochanchada, it is by no means a comedy, it's much more an erotic drama. The film takes itself very seriously, as the Goethe(?) quotation and the classical piano score prove.
I think that the film in itself could not be said to be moralistic, it rather portrays a moralistic society. The film drew some inspiration from the Nelson Rodrigues's universe (Nelson Rodrigues's plays criticize the hypocrisy and lunacy in which the middle class lives). But the depth displayed by Nelson Rodrigues is gone here. The characters are flat and the story is schematic, and particularly near the end, it dives head on into absurdity. This is at least, the way you could see the film if you stopped to analyze it, but if you just give your brain a rest and flow with the film, the picture may be very different...
"As borboletas também amam" is romantic and emotionally sincere, it tries for sophistication, but it's very simple and naive - that is its charm. As for feminine beauty, take the lovely Angelina Muniz as Mônica, and the also beautiful Rossana Ghessa as Virginia (they are not shy in shedding off their clothes when necessary, but the nudity is not gratuitous given the nature of the story).
The action in the final part of the film is quite delirious and the ending virtually defies belief! "As borboletas também amam" was seen by more than one million people in Brazil.