The Second Mother | Salt Lake City Weekly
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  Rated NR · 112 minutes · 2015

It’s always presumptuous to suggest that a filmmaker doesn’t realize where her narrative’s attention should be directed, yet it’s hard not to wonder if writer/director Anna Muyleart picked the right protagonist. Her story focuses on Val (Regina Casé), a housekeeper/nanny in São Paulo, Brazil, who has spent 13 years separated from her own daughter, Jéssica, while raising Fabinho (Michel Joelsas)—until Jéssica (Camila Márdila) moves to stay with her mother while preparing for college entrance exams. Muyleart effectively captures the tension as Jéssica begins living with Val's employers more as a guest than as daughter of “the help,” built on Val's own sense of being a social inferior. But while the Val/Jéssica dynamic is intriguing, there’s even richer ground in Fabinho’s mother, Bárbara (Karine Teles), who begins to realize how little connection she has to her own son, or her husband, Carlos (Lourenço Mutarelli). Muyleart, however, mostly opts to turn Bárbara into a villain. And considering the odd choice to also spend time on Carlos’ infatuation with Jéssica, it's frustrating to watch The Second Mother miss the opportunity to plumb the insecurities and regrets of the first mother.


Staff Rating:
Director: Anna Muylaert
Producer: Claudia Büschel, Caio Gullane, Fabiano Gullane, Débora Ivanov, Gabriel Lacerda and Anna Muylaert
Cast: Regina Casé, Michel Joelsas, Lourenço Mutarelli, Karine Teles and Camila Márdila

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