Much like the Brazilian song that inspired its original title, Just Like Our Parents is a movie about many things, but its core is about how the difference of generations leaves a mark on the relationship of a parent and its offspring. The fourth fiction feature of São Paulo-born extraordinaire Laís Bodanzky is the first in her filmography to have a female protagonist at its center. This is a movie about a woman – the offspring in question – whose own deceptions are the propeller shaft to her finally admitting that she doesn’t need to be perfect.
As the movie begins, we’re thrown into the most uncomfortable family luncheon. Much like the storm that forms in the backyard, it doesn’t take long for the tension to escalate as the mother, Clarice, reveals to the daughter, Rosa, that the man she has always called “Daddy” isn’t her biological father.
That revelation happens at a crucial point as Rosa’s life begins to crumble. Unemployed, unhappily married and trying to juggle a lonely motherhood as her husband “saves the world”, one mansplaining and lie at a time, she decides to rediscover herself. That happens through searching for her real father, trying out her luck at a doomed love affair and, most importantly, patching things up with her mother.
Laís’s gem of a film benefits from the powerhouse performances of Clarisse Abujamra (Clarice) and Maria Ribeiro (Rosa). But, mostly, it is the script – penned by the director and her longtime working partner Luiz Bolognesi – the perfect canvas for the two actresses. This powerful portrait of a pair of women who rediscover their love and respect for one another never looks cheesy – on the contrary, it’s a poignant feminist tale of freedom.
Camila Henriques is a Brazilian journalist who writes for Cine Set and has a weekly film column at a local radio station. She’s also a part of the Elviras, a group that unites women film critics and researchers from all over Brazil.