Many movies have tried to weave a web of coincidences and quirky characters into a satisfying tale of love, but few of them succeed. Bossa Nova, directed with a deft touch and acted with simplicity and genuine charm, pulls... more » it off. Mary Ann (Amy Irving) is an American teaching English in Rio de Janeiro; her husband died years before and she has given up on love. Lawyer Pedro (Antonio Fagundes) is in the middle of a sticky divorce and wants his wife back, but when he sees Mary Ann in the hallway outside her language school, he is instantly smitten and starts taking her class. Meanwhile, another student of Mary Ann's is having an affair over the Internet; Pedro's brother falls in love with Pedro's headstrong new intern; and there's the soccer star who's taking lessons from Mary Ann so that he can join a team in Manchester. Bossa Nova has a relaxed, smooth flow, not unlike the music it's named after. The ways the characters' lives start to interlock would be preposterous if it weren't so gracefully developed--every crossed path seems unforced and natural. The romance manages to be sweet and realistic, a mixture of swooning and melancholy. Irving and Fagundes are wonderful, particularly because they aren't callow youngsters but people who've experienced some hard knocks and yet continue on. All in all, a delight. --Bret Fetzer« less
Isabela Martins | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | 10/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Bossa Nova" is the perfect marriage between American and Brazilian culture!
As a Brazilian and a Carioca ( a native of Rio ) , I was very pleased to see my hometown in this film portrayed in all its natural beauty and charm - and with the marvellous, sensual and relaxing music of Tom Jobim in the background!
The movie itself is light and funny; the photography is splendid and the characters are so typical of Brazilian culture and reality ! - (the ignorant soccer player celebrity , the elegant, worldly Ipanema woman..., the middle class romantic/naive internet girl...., the charming , successful lawyer... - and the English teacher!
(As an English teacher myself living in this city , I can assure you I run into such people in my classes and social outings quite often ! )
One of the most romantic scenes is the one in the classroom where Fagundes imagines himself dancing a Broadway show with his English teacher , Amy.
And at the very last one, when the romantic couple goes swimming in Ipanema Beach, the background music ( a Bossa Nova "classic" )- "It could only happen to you" sung both in English and Portuguese is the perfect combination of the two cultures and the romance between the main characters. It makes one feel free, happy and romantic - just like Bossa Nova itself!"
Beautiful Bossa Nova!
ddunston | Savannah, Georgia USA | 01/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a 42-year old divorcee and divorced for over fourteen years now. I am also a seasoned Marketing Executive who thought she had seen it all. However, this movie made me believe in romance and companionship again. It was one of the most enchanting movies I have seen in a long time. It was also a pleasure to see more "mature" actors(obviously over 30) finding someone and enjoying life. I love all types of films, old, new, drama, action, subtitled, documentaries, you name it.I purchase& rent lots of videos weekly. I am an African-American female, who has always had an interest in Latin, Afro-Cuban & Brazilian music. Brazilian music, (Jobim)in particular, is very relaxing and tranquil. I had seen a film preview of the Amy Irving film and purchased the CD soundtrack. I played it in the car, at work, at home, even let it lull me to sleep at night. Then I found the video for rental. The mature actor with the beautiful gray hair, who feel in love with Amy, was absolutely wonderful. He was so inviting and believable. One of the most tender moments in the film was the time he spent with his father, when he selected and cut the fabric for Amy's blouse. Many Americans shy away from subtitled films, and have no patience with them. But, Americans need to take the time to watch more international film work. I have a much greater appreciation for other cultures, outside the US, because of the time spent watching foreign films. In fact, the English words are just a small part of it. I find I am more observant and watch the actors much more intently. Facial expressions and mannerisms mean so much more, because the abbreviated words don't say enough. There are not enough words to say how much this film has impacted my life. Who has not thought about running off to Rio, and floating in the warm, salty sea at dawn.........Thank you Amy!"
FUN! FUN! FUN! and FUNNY!
Karen Robinson | california | 07/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like off beat comedies with an international flavor, you'll love this movie. I saw it three times in one week and it kept me laughing.Mary Ann is an American widow teaching English in Rio de Janeiro. She rediscovers love with Pedro Paulo, a Brazilian lawyer. Although their love story is at the center of this film, the other characters that are intertwined in the plot make BOSSA NOVA worthy of its namesake. Like the musical genre, the movie has many layers: at the forefront, it is very sweet and simple and underneath, there is a variety of sounds and rhythms that lends it its complexity. And when its all over, it just leaves you with a wonderful free feeling. I especially enjoyed the comedy between Acacio, the soccer star and his sidekick/manager Gordo. Just hearing them trying to speak words in English, the good ones and the bad ones, with their thick Brazilian accent is worth the 20 bucks. Yet as a lover of real bossa nova, I gotta say the soundtrack is pretty weak with only modern covers of great bossa nova classics. But all in all, this is a great film and you should buy a copy of it now because you'll definately be watching it more than once."
Genevieve S. Gibson | Seattle, Wa United States | 12/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was a film that was in Theaters for about two minutes and then found its way to VHS/DVD. Finally. It is truly an under-rated romantic comedy that I have found (because I seem to make everyone I know watch this) to appeal to many different people of many different ages. It isn't the most original film in the world but it is well-made. Aspects of the story are like a screw-ball comedy from the thirties and other times it is a little melancholy with the right touch of longing and it addresses that oh so universal theme of trying to find that 'someone'. It is just a simple story of two lonely people trying to meet and each time there are distractions of other people trying to meet as well and facing dreary sides of potential love. The soundtrack matches many of the moments of film perfectly; right down to the lyrics being sung in particular scene where two of the characters meet at the most inopportune moment. It is obvious to see why the director dedicated the film to Antonio Carlos "Tom" Jobim and Francois Truffaut. The inspirations from both artists are apparent and it seems like this is a Valentine to both the men and to the director's wife (the lead character) Amy Irving. This is a film that isn't going to bring out any new surprises or insights into the human psyche. It is a small little snap-shot of a lovely moment. "Bossa Nova" is like the genre of music. Swingy, breezy, casual, sensual and delightful. "
Carmel Beattie | Sydney, Australia | 06/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have read several reviews on this movie and frankly I think some of these people should get over themselves! This was a charming, funny and thoroughly watchable movie that takes you away from your everyday life and immerses you in the wonder that is love and Rio de Janeiro. Many people have issues with the fact that this movie shows a fairytale Rio without favelas and crime - how many movies do you see of Paris without dog poo and rudeness or London without drizzle or New York without crime - many! This is a romantic comedy and serves Rio and its actors beautifully. As someone who loves Rio in all its aspects, I was happy to see a positive side of Brazilian life rather than a gritty, depressing 'real life' scenario. Yes, favelas a real but there are millions of people in Rio who don't live in them! We see enough of the sad side of Brazilian life, every so often it is good to show the positives. Relax, take off your reality meter and wallow in the gorgeousness that is Rio, Antonio Fagundes and this sweet and funny story."