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Reaching for the Moon

Luxuriating in its 50s Rio setting, Bruno Barreto's film tells the turbulent true story of American poet Elizabeth Bishop and her love affair with the Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares. Feeling stale in Manhattan, Elizabeth (burning with intelligence and inhibition in Mirando Otto's performance) accepts an invitation to Brazil. Mary, an old Vassar College friend, is staying at Lota's stunning Samambaia estate. (Designed by Oscar Niemeyer and the landscapist Roberto Burle Marx, it is guaranteed to induce serious House and Garden lust.) Elizabeth is unnerved to discover that the two women are lovers. The flamboyantly demonstrative Lota (Glória Pires) guesses exactly why Elizabeth might be so sensitive. As she taunts the priggish New Englander, the conflagration of opposite temperaments seems inevitable. Their passion is fuelled over the years by many trials, not least Lota's continuing involvement with Mary. Lota is a de facto supporter of the 1964 coup détat. Elizabeth, once she has a few drinks inside her, is not too shy to berate her lovers right-wing patrons. But as their love story unravels, each retains her fierce commitment to making art which endures today: Bishops poetry and architect Lota de Macedo Soares magnificent Flamengo Park in Rio. The strength of Reaching for the Moon is in the strong  and very different  performances from Miranda Otto and Glória Pires. Pires is a vibrant and charismatic force of nature, and is perfect as the frank and down-to-earth Lota, while Miranda Ottos shy elegance nicely fits with complex characteristics of Elizabeth Bishop.  Mark Adams, Screendaily

Year: 2013
Genre: Drama Romance, Queer Cinema, Latin America Cinema, Film Festivals 2014
Country: Brazil
Director: Bruno Barreto
Starring: Miranda Otto, Treat Williams, Tracy Middendorf, Gloria Pires, Marcello Airoldi, Lola Kirke, Tania Costa, Marianna Mac Niven
Duration: 129 Minutes
Rating: M - Content that may disturb, offensive language.
7/10
Location in store: Queer Cinema

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