Another problem is its translation. There are several moments in the film that felt as though they were making a joke, or that what had been said carried more weight than what I read. The translation had difficulty…well translating those moments. The English language subtitles in Cousins have difficulty conveying aspects of the script like humor, wordplay, or double entendres. Instead of finding a way to present an idea in English, they translate the speech literally, which leads to several awkward sentences. For example, “My monkey is already eating a banana” clearly carries a lot more meaning in Portuguese than English.
At its heart, Cousins is a comedy of manners that explores the sexual awakening of Lucas. It explores how he comes to terms with this truth against the backdrop of a strict religious community. But before that can happen, there is a lot of teasing moments. Things said. Things done. Things that could be innocent or…less so. Their relationship creeps along the edge of propriety and takes a good long time before being consummated. And it is in those moments that the film really shines.
“A gay romance that is more about atmosphere and longing looks than sweaty grunting and bedroom acrobatics…”
Every other moment, not so much. While Cousins is occasionally charming, and even funny, it suffers from the relative inexperience of its director. The moments when we don’t see the prolonged flirtation of our main characters don’t get handled with the same care and attention. And by that neglect, they come off as rushed, ill-thought-out or worse…boring. It is painfully clear early on where Cazado’s true interests lie with this film.
Cousins has as many things going for it as it has problems. Overall it comes off as a Lifetime channel romance if they did movies about gay Brazilians. Peppered with some really charming or romantically charged scenes that are dragged down by its more poorly executed moments and a less than competent translation, I’d suggest waiting for the remake.
"…at its heart Cousins is a comedy of manners exploring the sexual awakening of Lucas…"