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Mary Ann Simpson (Amy Irving) was once a flight asttendant married to a pilot; now her husband is dead, and she teaches English in Rio. Her students include Acacio (Alexandre Borges) a young soccer superstar, and Pedro Paulo (Antonio Fagundes) an older lawyer who joined the class impulsively when he saw Mary Ann in an elevator and fell in love with her at first sight. Around these characters circle others, all caught up in romantic troubles of various kinds, from Mary Ann's friend Nadine (Drica Moraes) who's met the man of her dreams over the Internet, to Pedro's new intern Sharon (Giovanna Antoniella) who's caught the eye of two very different men, and even Pedro's elderly father, Juan (Alberto de Mendoza) who's being sued for divorce by his much younger fourth wife.

"A pretty good romantic comedy, even if it's not that different from numerous other recent examples of the same genre. In particular, its narrative strategies recall Peter Chan's overlooked The Love Letter an ensemble cast of varying ages and types, a wide range of actual or potential romances, all built around a fortysomething actress who doesn't get many chances to show off her intelligence and beauty. Amy Irving is really something special in this movie especially if you only remember her, dimly, from long-ago performances in films like Carrie and Yentl. Playing an English teacher, she has a professional briskness and poise, a reserve that might plausibly come from being a widow in a foreign country; at the same time, she seems marvellously relaxed and at ease with herself, as in the hilarious scene where she and her soccer-player pupil leap round the room hurling swear-words at each other. (He's being traded to an English team, and wants to know what to say when he sledges the opposition.) Physically, Irving sometimes suggests another actress who played her best romantic roles in her forties, Katherine Hepburn the long, attractively scrawny neck, the chin held high. In general, recent romantic comedies concentrate much more on women than on men, and I wasn't quite won over by Antonio Fagundes as the somewhat staid love-interest a grey-haired, polished 'smiling public man,' every inch the slightly mischievous successful lawyer. And overall, despite the film's many attractions (from the luscious colors to the well-imagined secondary characters) it feels a little too much like romance cooked up according to a tested, surefire recipe. The revealing comparison might be with a director like Almodovar, who can be witty and entertaining without ever seeming boxed in by the conventions of light entertainment."
Jake Wilson

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Our Italian correspondent Sandra Bordigoni talks to director BRUNO BARRETO



CAST: Amy Irving, Antonio Fagundes, Alexandre Borges, Debora Bloch, Drica Moraes, Giovanna Antonelli, Rogerio Cardoso, Sergio Loroza

DIRECTOR: Bruno Barreto

PRODUCER: Lucy Barreto

SCRIPT: Alexandre Machado & Fernanda Young


EDITOR: Ray Hubley

MUSIC: Eumir Deodato

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 15, 2000 (Melbourne only; other states to follow)

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