Seasoned Brazilian helmer Bruno Barreto brings to life 1950s Rio in this beautifully drawn tale of poet Elizabeth Bishop and her love affair with architect Lota de Macedo Soares, the designer of Rio’s famed Flamengo Park. Based on the bestselling Brazilian novel Rare and Commonplace Flowers, the film follows Bishop as a creative block prompts her to accept the invitation of a college friend to stay with her and her partner, Lota, on a sprawling country estate. Quintessentially American Bishop is a fish out of water in her new lush and bohemian setting, until the instant chemistry between her and Lota boils over.
Miranda Otto gives an elegant and nuanced performance as Bishop, while Glória Pires provides a counterbalance with the Dionysian and earthy Lota. Bishop’s closet alcoholism thickens the drama, but when she returns to New York and the military coup d’état forces change in Brazil, the relationship also faces a downswing. This engaging and classical love story is an intimate snapshot of the search for inspiration and the lives of two remarkable artists.