Brazil Film Fest 2013 Review: Reaching For The Moon
Reaching for the Moon, explores the doomed love affair between American poet Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto) and Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares (Gloria Pires). Director Bruno Barreto focuses on the opposite natures of these two enigmatic women and the passionate devotion to one another that influences both their works.
Set against the optimistic backdrop of 1950s Brazil. Bishop is on holiday from New York to visit her college friend Mary Morse (Tracy Middendorf) who is living with her lover Macedo Soares. Bishop and Macedo Soares eventually become lovers and what was meant to be a holiday for Bishop turns into a 15 year stay. The film does not shy away from Bishop’s alcoholism and her struggles to accept herself as a poet. Nor does it gloss over the tumultuous relationship between Macedo Soares and Morse or Macedo’s affiliations with right wing politician Carlos Lacerda.
Macedo and Bishop’s relationship is not a perfect one and both are self destructive in their own ways but their devotion to one another and mutual admiration for each others work remains constant throughout. At times it is difficult to like either of them, Macedo Soares brimming with arrogance – she buys Morse a baby to pacify her over her affair with Bishop – Bishop unable to control her alcoholism or to stand up for herself.
Gloria Pires and Miranda Otto both give stunning performances that really capture the essence of these two complex icons.