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Mary Ann Johnson (Amy Irving)
Pedro Paulo (Antonio Fagundes)
Tania (Debora Bloch)
Acacio (Alexandre Borges)
Sharon (Giovanna Antonelli)
Argentine Juan (Alberto de Mendoza)

Directed by Bruno Barreto Written by Bruno Barreto, Alexandre Machado and Fernanda Young

Rated R for language and some sexual content
Running Time: 95 minutes Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics

Bossa Nova is a very charming romantic comedy about several couples’ relationships in present day Rio de Janeiro. The centerpiece of the film is an English teacher, Mary Ann Simpson (Irving), a widow who’s been living in Rio for two years since the death of her husband. Pedro Paulo (Fagundes) is a lawyer who is suddenly experiences the end of his seven-year marriage to Tania (Bloch). Pedro’s father is a tailor, the Argentine Juan (Mendoza), who has an atelier in the same building where Mary Anne’s English school is located in. Inside an elevator is where Pedro and Mary Anne first meet. As the two become close, both are unbeknownst of the concept that their lives will be even more interesting with the interference of many incidents and other characters.

Bossa Nova is a good independent film that contains heart and strong relationships. The film is a romance that’s dialogue is spoken half in Spanish and half in English.

Bruno Barreto does an elegant job of directing Bossa Nova. He captures the beautiful atmosphere of Rio de Janeiro in a fashionable manner. However, Barreto centers the film totally on the characters and their actions first. In contrast, the relationships are the stronghold of Barreto’s blending of romance and realistic comedy.

Barreto also co-wrote the script with Alexandre Machado and Fernanda Young. There are a few silly moments in this film, but the script is pretty simple. The dialogue is also natural and very cleverly written. Like I said before, half of the script’s dialogue is in Spanish and the other half is in English. This concept sort of brings the two cultures together with Mary teaching English to three of the other characters in the film. The script is nothing great, but flows well and it has touching humor.

The acting ensemble is mostly made up of actors that I have never seen before. Amy Irving delivers one of the better performances of her career as the American widow Mary Anne. Antonio Fagundes gives a terrific performance as the lawyer Pedro. Fagundes is a Spanish actor that has a fabulous grin and I hope to see him more in the future. Another Spanish actor, Alexandre Borges gives a funny performance as a famous soccer player trying to learn how to swear in English. The whole acting cast of Bossa Nova is very likeable and effective.

Bossa Nova is an independent picture that has not been release in many cities, so some moviegoers will not have the opportunity to see it. However, the film should be out of video before Christmas. So, if Bossa Nova doesn’t come to your city, I recommend renting it when it is released on VHS.

Report Card Grade: B

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