The Second Mother Movie Review
The Second Mother is a 2015 Brazilian drama film directed by Anna Muylaert and starring Regina Casé. It is one of the year’s best and moth interesting dramas.
It follows the housemaid of a wealthy family who lives and works at their house. But tensions arise when her daughter moves in with them and unspoken class barriers are suddenly evident. This is such a clever, sophisticated movie that is seemingly simplistic on the surface, but actually explores its subject matter in the best way possible – by letting you witness and realize it for yourself instead of preaching about it with a big message. I loved that sophisticated approach.
But the film also succeeds because it is such an engaging, dialogue-driven, character-driven drama in which characters are so real that I felt that I’ve just met them. Yes, the character development is really strong. Val is amazing and grounded in reality. She is never made a caricature here as the director herself said she did not want to ridicule her. And she succeeded in that task as the character is so real, but also so likable and endearing. And her change in personality near the end is achieved wonderfully and never feels abrupt. Jéssica is also really good and although extremely unlikable at first, you can see near the end why she was acting like that. She was unhappy because her mother was never there for her and their relationship is so heartwarming and ends on such a wonderful note. And the members of the wealthy family are all very well portrayed.
The acting is magnificent. Everyone here delivered a superb performance as Camila Márdila did such a good job in the role of Jéssica and Regina Casé is of course fantastic. She is so believable and gave a powerhouse, wonderful performance that is one of the best of the year. So good.
There are some parts in The Second Mother that I found annoying and problematic. Carlos pursued Jéssica here and that I strongly disliked as it was a totally unnecessary development that wasn’t important for the overall story. But they still did a good job with that as well because the scene in which he proposes to her is so realistically executed that I really appreciated it. Another thing that I found unnecessary was the twist with the baby in the end. That was also not needed for the story and it lessened the impact of the otherwise fantastic finale.
The Second Mother is a wonderful chamber drama where the characters are the most important aspect and they are basically always in one house. I really liked that and this is one of the better chamber dramas in recent years as it makes use of its setting and approach to the fullest extent, creating such a sophisticated, involving drama in the process. The tone I also really liked as the film is quite comedic in tone at times. Val’s fearful attitude produced many laughs and the clash between the two was funny in some scenes. The dialogue is terrific and there are some very interesting lines said in the movie. The film is also very realistic, but also emotionally investing and ultimately immensely heartwarming and satisfying. The film is also mostly well paced and the directing from Anna Muylaert is excellent. It is such an engaging, thought-provoking movie and one of the best films I’ve seen all year.