The Second Mother

Originally titled: Que Horas Ela Volta? (When is she coming home?)

This is a Brazilian movie that my family and I watched recently. Only mom could actually understand the Portuguese so we had to subtitle it for my sister and I but it wasn’t too bad to read and watch at the same time.

Overall, it was a funny and sad and amazing movie! It showed the culture there and how different it was compared to the Canadian norm!

Here’s the synopsis:
Val spends 13 years working as nanny to Fabinho in Sao Paulo. She is financially stable but has to live with the guilt of having left her daughter Jessica, in Pernambuco, in the north of Brazil, raised by relatives. As college entrance exams roll around, Jessica wants to come to Sao Paulo to take her college entrance exams too. When Jessica arrives, cohabitation is not easy. Everyone will be affected by the personality and candor of the girl and Val finds herself right in the middle of it.

Val, the main character, is just full of love for everyone around her but it takes her daughter coming to visit and messing with the careful equilibrium that has been maintained for Val to realize that the family she is employed with treat her very much like a maid and servant without actually taking the time to care about her as a human.

This daughter, however, is not perfect either. Jessica came with the misconceptions that her mother was rich or more well to do than a maid because of how Val acted whenever she visited Jessica. So she acted like she deserved everything and wouldn’t just let things slide which sometimes went to far as she had just arrived and should definitely have been more polite to begin with.

Something interesting I noticed was that this movie did not fall for the ordinary plot twists one might expect. I can think of at least 3 moments where I was cringing and waiting for a big thing to happen because it just seemed to be set up for it but they did not happen and I was pleasantly surprised! I liked that it didn’t need these big things to happen in order for you to still be drawn into the story. The characters and their interactions were enough and there didn’t have to be any misunderstandings or epic falls to keep you intrigued.

The plot was lovely and had a great conclusion that I’m not going to go into detail about as to not spoil it for you but it really told a beautiful story that centered around family and getting second chances.

Something totally unique to my experience watching this was actually seeing habits my own Brazilian mother had in Val! It was amazing to be able to have an experience that I could think of that played out like what was happening on screen! There was the fixating on one sentence I had said while she was angry and the little exclamations she said sometimes, it was just really neat.

So if you feel like taking a chance on this foreign film, chances are you’ll be glad you did!

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