IT is commonly said, in regards to relationships, that opposites attract. Which is definitely the case with this true life love story.

Starting in 1951, Reaching For The Moon tells the story of New York poet Elizabeth Bishop who feels she has lost her inspiration and so decides to take a holiday in Brazil. There, she meets an old college friend who introduces her to architect Lata de Macedo Soares. What begins as an initially conflicted relationship soon moves into a love affair which consumes both women and becomes an inspiration for their work.

Everything about this film is so incredibly beautiful. From the look of the film with its gorgeous cinematography showing off the beauty of the Brazilian scenery to the costumes and production design. Director Bruno Barreto also stages the scenes so beautifully that they look like works of art.

But at the heart of the film is the incredibly beautiful love story between Elizabeth and Lota. There are so many elements to their relationship which make it so truly fascinating. As mentioned, they do not hit it off at first with Elizabeth being very closed off and repressed, whereas Lota is more open and free-spirited. When you add to the mix Lota’s former lover and Elizabeth’s college friend Mary who lives with them, it makes for some interesting relationship dynamics. This lets the film explore the issues of love versus friendship and knowing if the love you feel is returned.

In some ways you can see where this sort of story is going but there is so much more going on below the surface that it is not just a love story between the two women. Each of the women must deal with their own personal demons and then there is the political turmoil in Brazil which just adds to the richness of the story.

The film features two incredibly stunning performances by Australian actress Miranda Otto and Gloria Pires. The way Miranda takes her character through her transformation is amazing. There is so much subtlety to her performance that the transformation is not very obvious matching the repressed nature of her character. Gloria on the other hand is more passionate in the way she portrays Lota. In some ways she can come off as not a terribly likeable character, especially in the way she treats people, but Gloria imbues her with a humanity which underlies her deeper emotional issues

Reaching For The Moon presents a complex love story that is rarely seen in the cinema today. It is also rare to see such interesting characters that are brought to the screen by such brilliant performances.

 

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