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Sundance 2019 Review: “Divine Love” (2019) ★★


The first rule before we start watching any film is to leave everything we are outside of the theater. All our preferences, view of life, beliefs, and everything that can come with it, so we could become a part of the character we watch on the silver screen. This is what I tried to do with Gabriel Mascaro’s “Divine Love” but towards the end, I simply gave up on anything he had to offer as it was lacking logical reasoning.

The film takes us to a not so distant future, and if to be precise, in 2027 where a Celebration for Supreme Love replaces Brazil’s most exciting event – Carnival. Joana (Dira Paes) is deeply religious. Her connection with God is undoubtful. She loves her job as a notary, embraces love to the fullest and forgets about bureaucracy when it comes to fixing damaged marriages. However, what she does so well at work does not quite work at home. She and her husband Danilo (Julio Machado) are deeply in love. But their attempt to conceive is unsuccessful. But as she hopes God to answer to her plea, the reward comes sooner than she could imagine, but will be difficult to explain to others.

“Divine Love” is perhaps the only disappointing film I had to see at the Sundance Film Festival. As the film tries to explain the true meaning of love, how it ever overcomes wrongdoings and is blind to prejudices, the film fails to explain a lot. In fact, it tries so hard that at some point you will wish you never had to attend the screening. Indeed, in terms of the visual style, the film has its own unique beauty and bright colors that only Brazilian cinema can deliver. But as for the concept or screenplay, it felt like the writer had forgotten what he was trying to say, as towards the end, it loses the connection with reality, turning into an absolutely dull storyline that could have been handled way better.

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