The Second Mother is Brazilian movie shown at IFFI 2017, which was also Brazil’s official entry at the 2015 Oscars.
The protagonist, Val, works as a loyal housekeeper for an affluent family in Sao Paulo for many years, leaving her own family including daughter Jesse behind in rural Brazil. In this household, she also takes care of the family’s son, Fabinho and is literally the “mother” who raises him like her own. Complications arise when Val’s own daughter, Jesse comes to live with her in Sao Paulo and punches above her weight, much to the chagrin of Val and the family’s matriarch, Barbra. What adds further chaos to the proceeding is that Barbra’s husband, Jose Carlos, gets infatuated with Jessica and in a brilliant scene, uncomfortable and funny in equal parts, proposes to Jessica.
The story is shown through the eyes of Val and is a brilliant social commentary on class and social barriers not only in Brazil but the world over. Regina Case, who plays Val, is the heart and soul of the film. Motherly, caring, funny, insecure – she showed all shades in order to make Val a well rounded and a human character. Her equation with the owners, with Fabinho and with her own daughter, undergo a change that is subtle but very moving and engaging thanks to the fantastic screenplay and direction.
Highly Recommended – 4 stars