I have a problem with women in Hollywood.
Slow down. Before you send out the mobs with torches and pitchforks, hear me out. I don’t have a problem with them being there, but instead, how they are portrayed a lot of times. Dingbat airheads oblivious to surroundings; the helpless waif that needs rescuing; or the tyrannical powerbroker terrorizing her underlings with over-the-top antics are all examples of the tropes that are tiresome and archaic. Hollywood has made some efforts to correct this unfortunate stereotype usage, but there is still quite a ways to go.
Going To Brazil does a masterful job of avoiding all those tropes. For once, we have four women in an action-comedy that are treated with the same regards as their tough and macho male counterparts. This is a movie revolving around characters and situations which just happens to have four women in the middle of it.
It’s about damn time.
Directed by Patrick Mille, Going To Brazil follows three friends that are invited to their friend’s wedding in Brazil. Agathe (Alison Wheeler) and Lily (Philippine Stindel) are sisters. Agathe is passive and never wanting to upset or offend anyone, while Lily is more than willing to be antagonizing which keeps Agathe very busy playing mother-figure. Chloe (Margot Bancilhon) is a love-troubled sous chef who is dumped by her boyfriend (“again???”). Katia is pregnant and engaged to the son of the soon-to-be governor. The timing of Katia’s (Vanessa Guide) invitation to Brazil could not have been better. The threesome land in Brazil and while waiting for Katia’s arrival to pick them up, the carnival of craziness begins to parade from the penthouses of the elite to the favelas of the poor to deep within the Amazon jungle, and these formidable ladies find themselves on the run.
We also meet a bevy of colorful characters such as the charming, yet suspicious French consulate M. Herve’ (Patrick Mille), and the favela crime lord, Hector, played by the wild-eyed, gun-toting Suzana Pires, who is a true delight. Adding to her performance is the fact that she has historically played distinguished women, so the departure from that is one of those cool things that foreign viewers would likely appreciate far more than unfamiliar domestic viewers.
The bright and neon colors throughout the movie accentuate the high amount of energy of the Brazilian culture – especially when contrasted against the cloudy and grey French skyline – while the energetic soundtrack stays in step with the tempo of the film to create a fun, cinematic samba. I was so engaged in this movie that I completely forgot I was “reading” subtitles.
Full of energy, laughs and heart, Going To Brazil is one of those special gems you feel lucky to have stumbled upon. It’s time the rest of the motion picture industry took notice and create more movies like this.
Starring Alison Wheeler, Philippine Stindel, Margot Bancilhon
Written by Sabrina Amara, Julien Lambroschini, Patrick Mille
Directed by Patrick Mille