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Plot: A chronicle of the tragic love affair between American poet Elizabeth Bishop and Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares. Runtime: 118 mins Release Date: 16 Aug 2013
A deeply moving surprise of a film (by runamokprods)
I was sad to see this deeply moving, complex and intelligent story of the love between the award winning American poet Elizabeth Bishop and Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares. so overlooked by U.S, audiences and critics. There are two outstanding performances by Miranda Otto as the outwardly shy and repressed alcoholic Bishop, and Gloria Pires as her opposite, an extroverted, highly emotional woman who coaxes Bishop out of her shell. Very nicely photographed, this reminded me of the best of the Merchant-Ivory films. It's not flashy. Indeed there's a quiet to it that is needed <more>
to off-set the melodramatic even if based in truths elements of these women's lives. But that doesn't keep it from packing a hell of an emotional punch, and in being bold enough to create characters we care for, but who are also deeply troubled and capable of making bad choices – just like in the real world of relationships we rarely see on screen. It was also nice to see a gay-themed love story that both acknowledged how difficult being homosexual was in the 1950s, while not becoming a film about that only. This is a film about a complex relationship between two highly creative and wounded souls who both save and damage each other. The fact that both are women is only a small part of the larger story. It's also one of the only films I've seen capture at least a taste of the struggle and loneliness of the act of writing. One of those little gems that deserves to be discovered by more people.
I just finished watching this on Netflix streaming. I will be honest, I had not heard of either Elizabeth Bishop not a poetry reader or Lota de Macedo Soares don't know that much about Brazilian history . What an explosion of a true story. I was memorized. Miranda Otto, who always delivers a great performance in everything that I've seen her in, was amazing. Her character was such a conflicted person and she came out doing it brilliantly! Now, for Gloria Pires, she was a force to be reckoned with. I can't say anymore than that. When she was on the screen, it was hard to NOT to <more>
look at her. Tracy Middendort was heart wrenching as the jilted lover. I could feel what she was going through because haven't we all had to do that at one time or another? Brava to all three leading ladies. Their performances were excellent and so true to life!
Gloria Pires as Lota De Macedo Soares... (by MarieGabrielle)
Lovely. A story here that is not overshadowed by the relationships, politics, or agenda. It is, simply beautifully filmed, the beaches of Rio De Janeiro, the beautiful home Lota has deigned in part to accommodate her new lover, poet Elizabeth Bishop, completely played by Miranda Otto.Otto is at once restrained yet yearning, a Vassar graduate visiting her friend, who initially is puzzled and indeed overwhelmed by the beauty and passion of South America.She plays the American New England spinster type well, without a stereotype here. We can feel she wants, and NEEDS to break free from <more>
societal restraints.The filming of the rain forests, the owls at night, the visuals are incredible. Lota Soares was politically connected and designed the park near Carioca beach, the title infers, reaching for the moon has so may more connotations for each woman.What is most refreshing is the way this film is written, sensitive to the issues each woman experiences, it is an individual and a private journey.The actress portraying Carlotta Soares is affecting and sad, and Miranda Otto is quite believable as Bishop. The story is beautiful and sad, and the scenery of Brazil is not to be missed, simply beautiful, and beautifully filmed. 10/10
Elegant, rapturous throwback to old Hollywood (by Emma_Stewart)
Reaching for the Moon is the kind of movie everyone hopes for but no one makes: a gay romance where "gay romance" is not the premise. Director Bruno Barreto focuses instead on how Elizabeth Bishop and Lota de Macedo Soares challenged and changed the world and each other in other ways, and that was absolutely the right choice - these women and their story are fascinating and make for top class entertainment.And it is entertaining. Considering the characters' issues and the story's ending it could have been drab, but the film is always lively and engaging. It flies by. Bishop <more>
takes herself very seriously, but Barreto maintains a sense of humor about it and makes fun of her just enough to keep her melodrama under control. An added bonus is that Miranda Otto gets to show off her underrated and underused comedic chops; one particular drunk scene is priceless. Glória Pires is dynamic and fiery as Lota but Otto is the real star, channeling Greta Garbo and Deborah Kerr in a gracefully commanding performance. She doesn't shy away from Bishop's spikiness, but her screen presence is so compelling that as much as we might be frustrated with her character, we can't take our eyes off her. Thanks to her constantly surprising performance, an eclectic ensemble cast, breathtaking visuals, and assured direction, Reaching for the Moon pulses with energy and is a breath of fresh air in an era of stuffy and bland biopics. Highlights: Shots of Rio de Janeiro that belong on postcards; a performance from Miranda Otto that would have won an Oscar in 1937; the assertion that some things are more important than whether a person is gayVerdict: Watch this with your parents instead of Blue Is the Warmest Color
Gorgeous, real, richly evocative on many levels (by secondtake)
Reaching for the Moon 2013 Wonderful! The story of the Brazilian years of the great North American poet, Elizabeth Bishop. There are so many beautiful aspects to the characters, their setting, and their relationships it's hard to know where to begin. And even better, on top of all this, is the historical recreation of the times, and the changing political climate of Brazil. It's touching and uplifting and tragic. The original title of this is "Flores Raras" because these were indeed rare people, and doing beautiful things. And yes, they were reaching for the moon but you <more>
might rather say they reached the moon. Succeeding at something is more than literally fulfilling.The plot has a slightly meandering, unfamiliar arc through the main events, and there are times when you think one thing and then suddenly another happens. Don't blame bad writing, but rather realize that this is how life is, and how it really was. Remember as well that these are artists of privilege at work, they have money and education and act with a kind of license and liberation that we all should feel. And so it's unpredictable.As a kind of true insight into the poetic process you might find few parallels in the movies. You learn their temperaments, and how circumstances make the artist and the poet come to their best. The intimate circumstances are about love, a really true deep love that grows between these two women. Their professional needs reinforce and conflict with their personal needs, but they make it work. The outside circumstances are hard to understand from 2014. Brazil was once a very different country, filled with far more freedom and sense of liberation. This seems to be a direction that are pointed in again, though going through fits and starts. But the world in post-War Brazil was one of possibility. It was a haven not just for ex-Nazis and a growing "New World," but it was also stuffed with poverty which the movie ignores , a legacy still at hand.And this is exciting stuff. The movie moves mostly through the confines of their big, gorgeous estate in the hills, but it also shows us the city, and the larger world. So Bishop and Lota de Macedo Soares, an important architect of the era. grow and suffer and see their world fall apart around them Brazil fell under dictatorship in the mid 1960s . It's filmed with utter beauty, the acting is sharp and convincing, and the writing not surprisingly is fluid and tight. Great stuff.
Involving, watchable, grown-up - sound like your kind of movie? (by eebyo)
I enjoyed this story of a lengthy midlife love affair, "based on" that is, "not cemented to the known facts of" real women of some mid-century renown. One, American poet Elizabeth Bishop, is quiet, slow to warm to strangers or share working drafts of her poems. See if Miranda Otto doesn't remind you of Deborah Kerr in her memorable 1940s and '50s roles and clothes . In Brazil to visit an old college friend, Elizabeth meets Lota de Macedo Soares, a charismatic commander of attention and glamorously trousered architect. They become lovers and make their life in <more>
Brazil. All the characters, including a close male friend of Lota's and one of Elizabeth's, are revelations in the best sense: mature but unfinished adults, they meet their circumstances over nearly 20 years in ways not even they might be able to predict. Mark Twain said that fiction is obliged to meet our expectations but the truth isn't. Central Casting can provide "types," but history offers people like nobody else, which is why you'll find discussions here and elsewhere complaining that these lesbians were not put through their proper lesbian plot paces! The drunks were sometimes sober! People got depressed without enough foreshadowing! Ignore all that. This is a good quiet story, mostly but not all sad, about people learning themselves as they go, living genuinely if not always bravely. And anyone who's ever dreamed of having a writer's sanctuary will fall rapturously in love with the al fresco study Lota builds for Elizabeth. Must be seen to be appreciated!
Interesting characters and some very good acting... (by Jose Guilherme)
Overall had a very good impression of the movie. I think it balanced well certain aspects... especially in the portrayal of their romance. They avoided being overly prudish and that made the romance seem more real. Without getting too kinky and losing focus. The contrast between the two characters is really interesting.The actress Gloria Pires who portrays Lota de Macedo Soares has worked in dozens of soap operas and that sometimes comes through in her films, but not this time thankfully. She so embodies the force of nature that was Lota and this comes through the screen very well. I felt <more>
like I was seeing a member of my old Rio family... so her amazing portrayal was certainly the highlight of the film for me.PS: Being a Macedo Soares myself but too young to have known Lota ... there might be a bit of bias in my review.
Philosophic analysis of poet Elizabeth Bishop's tragic love affair (by maurice_yacowar)
However truthful to Elizabeth Bishop's tragic love affair with Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares, Bruno Barreto's Reaching for the Moon is more generally engaged with the question: Is the examined life worth suffering?In this corner, Elizabeth Miranda Otto , a wan, fragile, painfully timid and insecure poet who is mortified to hear one of her poems read aloud. In her insecurity and sense of powerlessness she is Woman. She dresses like an office manager's wife and wears her hair tight to her face. She compulsively observes and anatomizes her observations. Her life is at <more>
first nothing but her examining it.In contrast Lota has a large strong face, flowing long hair, a man's stocky build, and a man's aggressive stride and nature. She never questions herself or her impulses and she has the money not just to do what she wants but to get others to do so too. When she tells Elizabeth that she and her current amour, Elizabeth's college friend Mary Tracy Middendorf , were just roommates, she admits Mary hasn't thought that. Probably Lota hasn't either. To draw Mary back into her fold as a friend Lota buys her a child. Lota is also creative, designing her sumptuous country estate and — after she helps friend Carlos Marcello Airoldi get elected Governor — designs and supervises the construction of a large public park, with towering standards to provide the magic of moonlight. But she's not a thinker, a meditator. She just acts. Not given to self-analysis, when the new guest Elizabeth arrives Lota leaps to wrong conclusions about her.Part of their antithesis is cultural. As Elizabeth drunkenly tells the Rio audience at her National Book Awards dinner, "How can someone raised in the desert swim like a fish?" The withdrawn Elizabeth doesn't understand the Brazilian exuberance, constant joy, and carefreeness, as they celebrate everything — even after the military coup has reduced their freedoms.But the contrast is mainly in the women's character. Still, though Lota is the first to express her love for Elizabeth — which the poet only reciprocates when Lota is asleep — in their first clinch Elizabeth assumes the ardent initiative. And despite -- or because of -- her relentless analyzing, Elizabeth is an alcoholic.With her deep pessimism and self-doubt, Elizabeth stumbles from success to success: the Pulitzer, the NBA, a slot in The New Yorker, the man Aldous Huxley's approval, a teaching gig at NYU. Her life examining works for her. But the ebullient, confident Lota breaks down at her first defeat: the new government corrupts her vision of the park, converting it into the cliché sterile paved soccer court. When Elizabeth asks if her going to New York caused Lota's depression, Mary clearly blames the ruin of her project. "How could you think anyone could be that confident?"For her part, Mary begins as a jejeune, non-thinking sort who doesn't expect her college friend to steal her lover. Dumped, Mary realizes she has "no other option" than to love Lota. But by film end she has learned to read people and situations. Motherhood may have taught her wariness. When she aborts Elizabeth's correspondence with Lota it is not out of selfish malice, but because she knows that Lota's losing Elizabeth again would destroy her. Events prove her right.Hence the poem Elizabeth ends too soon at the start of the film and rounds out at the end. "The art of losing isn't hard to master." Not if you're a thinker. The frightened self- doubter sees enough loss to handle her own and not just thrive but survive. The robust willful woman who never paused to consider human vulnerability is defeated by her first loss — and kills herself at the second.