Having left her daughter, Jessica, to be raised by relatives in the north of Brazil, Val works as a loving nanny in São Paulo. When Jessica arrives for a visit 13 years later, she confronts her mother’s slave-like attitude and everyone in the house is affected by her unexpected behavior.
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The second mother is a welcome update to the social and class examination of La Nana. It's beautifully warm cinema that's as evocatively poetic as it is easily accessible. Performances are spot on, expertly milked for maximum audience squirm factor and a great example of how to up the stakes from scene to scene. The ending however felt too convenient and at odds with the rest of the film. 4 stars
It's interesting that in Brazil higher education is still regarded as a force of social change and upward mobility, whereas in the Neoliberal USA, college is just another form of economic enslavement: the main product on a North American University is indebted students. It's reassuring to know that magic realism is still alive in Brazil.
A sweet performance film that despite offering no surprises effectively provides an experience that most all can relate to. Regina Case offers one of the best performances seen this year as the much put upon housekeeper happy in her subservient role called into question by the visiting daughter that she has never really known. Camila Mardila is also memorable as the fiery daughter. Well written and performed.
Although it's cinema by the book, The Second Mother has so much warmth in its characters that they are bigger than the film's stereotypical flaws. The plot and directing choices are a very accurate look into brazilian upper class everyday living - and that being said they deliver some golden scenes. Val and Jéssica have so much power within them, it's welcoming to watch these women on screen.
The problematic barriers between social classes are the main subject of Ms. Muylaert’s script, which richly unfolds situations with precise focus and lots of laughs, especially due to the heavenly performance of Regina Casé...
[REVIEW] 73/100 - Second Mother (Anna Muylaert, Brazil)
Cinematically, the film is nothing spectacular, and surely the script comes first. Notably, inward zooms of empty hallways evoke the pain of emptiness, which is thematically found...in the hearts of children ore only feels marginally successful.
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