Possible Loves


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Possible Loves
"Engaging and likeable."

The premise of Possible Loves is so simple that I defy anyone not to be familiar with it. What would occur if just one event in time had turned out differently?

Carlos (Murilo Benicio) is waiting for his college girlfriend at a Rio de Janeiro cinema. The film interweaves what will happen to him 15 years hence, depending on whether she turns up or not (how anyone could possibly fail to turn up for the drop-dead gorgeous Benicio is beyond me).

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In the first strand, his date Julia (Carolina Ferraz) inexplicably fails to show and so he goes on to marry Maria (Irene Ravache) and settle into a tired and childless marriage, only to find a chance meeting with Julia rekindles old flames and makes him reassess his life.

In the second scenario, Julia does show and he goes on to wed and father a son with her, although by the time we catch up with him some 15 years on he has left her for male friend, Pedro (Emilio de Mello), whom he met at football practice. Much, however, remains unresolved and this storyline follows Carlos in his attempt to define his sexuality once and for all.

In the third and most engaging incidence, Julia fails to make the date and we hook up with him again as a thirtysomething, who has never left home and is still playing the field, like a student. He embarks upon a series of crazy attempts to meet Miss Perfect and, through a twist of fate, meets up with Julia, who in this reality is a slightly off-the-wall, ditzy artist. The question is, will he be able to commit?

Director Sandra Werneck carefully intertwines the threads in a convincing manner. This is no Sliding Doors - you won't find contrived situations where the various alternate realities pass by themselves - but like that film, it is engaging and likeable.

Benicio plays each of the subtly different Carloses superbly and is as adept at the role of a slightly stuffy accountant, as he is in party-animal and father mode. Ferraz, too, makes light work of the split personalities she has to adopt. Carlos's mother (Beth Goulart) is also outstanding, managing to be at once immensely likeable, yet still keeping an edge of superiority against which he must rebel.

The film does require you to suspend your disbelief. After all, it is unlikely that on the one hand you would come out as a homosexual, yet on the other be seemingly confident in your heterosexuality as to show no leanings in that direction. But this is a minor gripe.

Overall, a feelgood romantic comedy which, while not played for laughs, delivers several, and manages to be thought-provoking as well. It is a consummate piece of directing from a woman of whom I am sure we will hear a lot more of in the future.

Reviewed on: 17 Aug 2001
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The effect of a single twist of fate on a lifetime of love.
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Director: Sandra Werneck

Writer: Paulo Halm

Starring: Carolina Ferraz, Murilo Benicio, Irene Ravache, Emilio de Mello, Beth Goulart, Alberto Szafran, Luiza Mariani, Drica Moraes, Christine Fernandes

Year: 2000

Runtime: 98 minutes

Country: Brazil


EIFF 2001

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If you like this, try:

Sliding Doors