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Reaching for the Moon

7/10
Romance . Drama . Biography
 

In 1951 New York poet Elizabeth Bishop travels to Rio de Janeiro to visit Mary, a college friend. The shy Elizabeth is overwhelmed by Brazilian sensuality. She is the antithesis to Mary’s dashing partner, architect Lota de Macedo Soares. Although frosty at first, the architect soon makes a play for Elizabeth and the poet finally succumbs to Lota’s advances. Mary is jealous, but unconventional Lota is determined to have both women at all costs. Their ménage à trois is thrown off balance when Lota starts work on her biggest project to date, designing Parque do Flamengo in Rio. Elizabeth accepts an academic teaching post in the USA and the women drift apart. Lota, at all other times brimming with self-confidence, is inconsolable. This eternal triangle plays out against the backdrop of the military coup of 1964. Bishop’s moving poems are at the core of a film which lushly illustrates a crucial phase in the life of this influential Pulitzer prize-winning poet

 
Actors: Marianna Mac Nieven , Tânia Costa , Luciana Souza , Lola Kirke , Marcello Airoldi , Treat Williams , Tracy Middendorf , Glória Pires , Miranda Otto
Directors: Bruno Barreto
Country: BRAZIL
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  • Deborah Young

    It would be hard to find two more contrasting actresses than Otto and Pires, but Barreto plays off their differences in culture and personality.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Trevor Johnston

    The film never works out how to generate genuine dramatic fire from its material. There are convincing performances and decorative retro detail to admire, but the heart needs to beat just that bit faster – and it doesn’t manage that.

    Time Out London Full Review
  • Guy Lodge

    Attention is retained by the commendably unhistrionic leads, who convincingly etch the pair’s enduring devotion even when passions run dry.

    Variety Full Review
  • Walter Addiego

    Despite its worthy subject, this feature by veteran Brazilian director Bruno Barreto has a bluntness that's at odds with Bishop's personality and work.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Robert Abele

    Everything ultimately gives way to the stately, simplistic, inevitable pace of by-the-numbers biopics, from some woefully tinny, hit-and-run screenwriting to the usual difficulties surrounding the dramatization of an author's craft.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Nicolas Rapold

    Ms. Otto conveys a double-edged intelligence as the film’s pinched notion of “Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil,” while Ms. Pires strides about, every snap judgment and grand gesture a measure of her appeal. Both are hemmed in by direction and a screenplay that are relentlessly on point (as well as an off-the-shelf score).

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Diego Costa

    Bruno Barreto's insistence that this pass for a product that Hollywood might have spawned smoothens a journey built on sharp edges.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Calum Marsh

    Poetry refracts life; this film can only reflect it, and tritely at that.

    Village Voice Full Review
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