by George Wolf
Invisible Life (A Vida Invisvel) is one of the few films that earns its melodrama status in only positive ways. Director/co-writer Karim Ainouz attacks our sentimentality in such a loving, dreamlike manner you easily fall under his spell of family strife in 1950s Brazil.
Sisters Euridice and Guida (Carol Duarte and Julia Stockler, both exceptional) grew up inseparable but have begun to follow different paths. While Guida dreams of finding love, Euridice has aspirations as a classical pianist.
A dramatic turn leads to one of the women being disowned by their father, and the two sisters begin living disconnected lives, each believing the other’s circumstances are very different than reality.
The “invisibility” of the sisters to each other, and of the lives of all women in a patriarchal society, is a thread Ainouz weaves skillfully and repeatedly throughout. The result is a lush and emotional period piece that dives into its genre with no apologies, tugging at your heart with broken dreams and familial bonds until you’re nothing but thankful for it.