Co-written and directed by Sandra Kogut (Campo Grande), Three Summers follows Madá (Regina Casé, The Second Mother), a caretaker for a rich household whose world gets turned upside down when her employers become involved in a money-laundering scandal. The resulting twists and turns as Madá uses this seemingly damaging event to her professional advantage should be fascinating but wind up being surprisingly dull.
There’s simply no directorial style or enough captivating moments to keep viewers engaged. Plus, the film’s exploration of economic disparity feels heavy-handed and uninspired compared with similar recent fare like Days of the Whale.
The tedium also cheapens the cast’s often wonderful performances. Casé is an absolute joy to watch, and seeing her exuberant ambition for improving her career prospects is immensely charming. She also exhibits wonderful chemistry with veteran actor Rogerio Froes (Summer Dream) that provides much-needed second-half entertainment as the film trudges to the finish line.
Casé is so mesmerizing that one wonders if Kogut’s underwhelming direction was merely an attempt not to draw attention away from her terrific lead. While that’s no excuse for lazy filmmaking, it makes sense, seeing as Casé is pretty much the only element keeping this movie afloat.
Available to rent via grailmoviehouse.com