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Love flows like music in this romantic comedy set in beautiful Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. BOSSA NOVA weaves together three overlapping triangles: Mary Ann, a widowed American schoolteacher who has givenup on ever finding love again; Pedro, a suave attorney dealing with a separation from his wife; andTania, (the wife) who may want him back. Then there's Roberto, Pedro's shy brother, who works for their father in his tailor shop; Acacio, a handsome soccer champ soon to be transplanted to England; Sharon, a feisty law intern; and lastly, the hopeful Nadine, a young bohemian who thinks she's foundthe man of her dreams on the internet. With gorgeous locales and heartfelt performances from Oscar(r)-nominated Amy Irving (Best Supporting Actress, Yentl, 1983) and a cast of Brazilian favorites, BOSSA NOVA will whisk you away with a refreshing look at the complexities of love.
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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 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
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