Reaching for the Moon (2013)

Not Rated   |    |  Biography, Drama, Romance


Reaching for the Moon (2013) Poster

A chronicle of the tragic love affair between American poet Elizabeth Bishop and Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares.


7/10
2,619

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  • Miranda Otto and Glória Pires in Reaching for the Moon (2013)
  • Miranda Otto and Glória Pires in Reaching for the Moon (2013)
  • Miranda Otto in Reaching for the Moon (2013)
  • Miranda Otto and Glória Pires in Reaching for the Moon (2013)
  • Miranda Otto and Glória Pires in Reaching for the Moon (2013)
  • Miranda Otto and Glória Pires in Reaching for the Moon (2013)

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12 June 2014 | Red-125
8
| A melodramatic movie about a melodramatic situation
The Brazilian movie Flores Raras was shown in the United States with the title Reaching for the Moon (2013). It was directed by Bruno Barreto.

The film is based on the life of the great American poet, Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto). As the movie begins, Elizabeth is traveling in Brazil, and visits the estate of the famous architect Lota de Macedo Soares, played by Glória Pires. Lota is in a lesbian relationship with Bishop's college friend Mary (Tracy Middendorf).

Despite Elizabeth's somewhat proper and restricted outlook, she accepts the love offered by Lota, even though this leaves Mary as the odd woman out. This act struck me as a shabby betrayal of an old friend, but, in the movie, it's treated as true love that makes such betrayal acceptable, if not inevitable.

It doesn't hurt that Lota has an enormous estate, and enormous resources. As an architect, Lota is able to envision and then design a beautiful writer's studio for Elizabeth.

The strong point of the movie is that it presents the writing of poetry as work. Elizabeth doesn't just close her eyes and wait until the poetic muse strikes her. She sits in the studio and pushes and pulls her poetry into shape. She's also not happy when she's interrupted during the creative process. This is the only film I can remember where creating a poem is shown as a process, and a delicate and difficult process at that.

This idyllic existence is disrupted by Brazilian political events, into which Lota plunges. The remainder of the movie is devoted to how these events play out in the lives of Elizabeth and Lota.

I don't know enough about the details of the coup, or of the lives of the film's principals, to know how accurately the film portrays them. This aspect of the movie is highly melodramatic, but the actual events were probably equally melodramatic. Certainly, the film holds your interest as the situation plays itself out to the end.

We saw this movie on the large screen, where it will work better, especially in the scenes set on Lota's estate. However, it will work well enough on the small screen. It's not a great movie, but it's certainly good enough to repay you for finding and watching it.

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