January 24, 2020 – Two sisters in Rio in the 1950s are kept apart by circumstances and by two men who conspire to keep them in their places, rather than where they want to be and with whom they want to be.
Guida and Eurídice Gusmão (played by Julia Stockler and Carol Duarte, respectively) are two carefree girls growing up in Rio when they are suddenly separated. Guida suddenly elopes with a Greek sailor, who turns out to be a “scumbag.” Months later, she returns home, pregnant and single, to the open arms of her mother, Ana (played by Flávia Gusmão) but her father, Manuel (Antônio Fonseca) calls her a slut, throws her out of his home and disowns her.
Ana meekly goes along with this after Manuel threatens to banish her as well. Manuel also tells Guida a lie about where her sister lives. He is determined to make her completely separate from his family. He tells Guida that her sister has gone to Vienna to study music. In fact, she is still in Rio. Guida is furious at her father, and vows never to come home again. She plans to save enough money to visit her sister in Vienna.
Thus begins a very long and sad story about two sisters who love each other, who both live in the same city, but who both think the other sister lives in a different country. Eurídice thinks Guida lives in Greece and Guida thinks Eurídice lives in Vienna.
Eurídice does want to study music in Vienna, but her husband, Antenor (Gregório Duvivier) wants her barefoot and pregnant. He fears that if she becomes a celebrated musician, it will diminish him by comparison. She does get pregnant, and plans for an illegal abortion, but her husband finds out about her pregnancy from her doctor, and she is trapped.
Meanwhile, Guida is in for a much tougher time. She is on her own, until an older woman, Filomena (Bárbara Santos) impressed by her spirit, befriends her. At first, Guida rejects her child, leaving it at the hospital, but then changes her mind and decides to raise her son by herself.
In one scene Guida's son and Eurídice's daughter meet at a restaurant, but Guida and Eurídice, who are both at the same restaurant at the same time, miss seeing each other by seconds. If that sounds a bit contrived, it is no more so than most of the rest of the plot of this melodramatic movie.
One thing that is needed for this dance of near meetings to work is that neither Guida nor Eurídice seem to have any friends at the time of Guida's elopement. If either of them had a good friend who kept it touch, it would be fairly easy for the sisters to find each other through their friends, but both sisters depend totally on their parents for contact information, and that is withheld from them.
The men in this movie, Manuel and Antenor come off looking evil in this story. Both embrace a type of patriarchy where they insist on total control over their families. More than that, they both seem threatened by strong women who have their own goals in life. In this society, in this time, women have very little power, but Guida and Eurídice try hard to break free from this system.
The acting is very good in this movie, and the story is compelling, if somewhat far-fetched, manipulative and overlong (140 minutes). I would have liked this movie more if it was more believable, and had a shorter running time. This film rates a B.
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