Three Summers – Film Review

Three Summers tells the story of, well, as the name may suggest, three consecutive Christmas summers in Brazil, spanning across the years of 2015 to 2017 in this Brazilian comedy-drama.

We are introduced to Madelena, or simply Madá (Played by Regina Casé), a caretaker who is given the responsibility one summer, of looking after a large condominium overlooking the beaches that are owned by a very wealthy Rio de Janeiro family, whilst also investing in her project of a roadside kiosk that she plans to have set up and running soon. It’s not until we go further ahead in time to the following years, that it’s unveiled this wealthy family are in some serious legal issues that have serious consequences bestowed upon them.

Things only get worse when the authorities use a warrant to search the condo, resulting in the ugliness of corruption and money laundering brought to the surface. Madá takes it upon herself to not only look after herself, but also her obedient employees that work with her through a difficult period over the three summers.

Not only did I not feel engrossed with the storytelling, the film’s premise felt rather poorly presented with the story it was trying to convey across. Ultimately, it left me feeling rather bored, which is a real shame. The movie clearly illustrates and compares the differences between the rich and the poor, the people who were born into money and dirty deeds to earn more of it, versus the people who have had to work hard constantly for their money. At least, that is what I believe Three Summers wants to get across to its audience, and I’m not sure exactly what I was supposed to take from this viewing experience.

Over the course of the film, Three Summers jumps from one summer Christmas break to the next to progress the story and expects the viewer to fill in the gaps of what has happened in between that time we are not shown. But it’s done in a way that is confusing and left me scratching my head wondering what the hell is going on. It did not feel cleverly done, nor did it keep my interest in wanting to know what would happen next. Three Summers’ premise had potential to be amazing but fell flat. I believe that the plot may have been better suited as a TV series in order to covey a more gripping and better-told narrative.

Lead actress Regina Casé as the hard-working, charismatic Madá, puts on a believable and engaging performance that I could not help but thoroughly enjoy. There’s a certain charm and aura Casé brings, despite my criticism with the film, I admittedly still smiled whenever she was on-screen. You could really see that she had fun with the role. In fact, the entirety of the cast did a well, but unfortunately, it was not enough to salvage this movie.

Three Summers is ambitious, blessed with a terrific cast of actors, but sadly, is dull for the most part, poorly plotted and lacks in any good laughs in this ‘comedy-drama’. Drama? Yes. Comedy? Not so much.

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