Short Review: “Aquarius”

Veteran Brazilian actress, Sonia Braga, shines as Clara, the strong-willed, eccentric woman holding on tight to her dear apartment destined for destruction in Kleber Mendonca Filho’s second feature Aquarius.

Aquarius tells the story of an apartment complex in Brazil that is set for renovation under new management. All the units have been bought out and emptied, except for one. Clara’s not going anywhere, no matter the amount they throw at her.

The narrative structure is set up into three parts dividing the film by first looking into Clara’s past battle with cancer, then moving to her current daily life as a music-loving widow and finally her fight to ride out the corporate hot-shots vying for her home.

The lengthy 2 hours and 40-minute film could use some editing to cut it down, but the movie is kept above water by Braga’s performance. She fully dissolves herself into Clara with remarkable emotional conviction. Clara, the vintage-loving, hammock-swinging, stubborn, sexual and awesome woman that she is remains in my eyes as the strongest and most compelling female lead from the Cannes line-up.

 

 

Aquarius

Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho
Writer: Kleber Mendonça Filho
Producer: Emilie Lesclaux, Said Ben Said, Michel Merkt
Cast: Sonia Braga, Maeve Jinkings, Irandhir Santos, Humberto Carrao, Zoraide Coleto
Run Time: 145 min