By Ron Wells | January 30, 2001

You know marriage is about compromises, sometimes really BIG compromises. I guess a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do. In Andrucha Waddington’s new film, Darlene (Brazilian film and TV legend Regina Case) has to do something once she finds herself pregnant and left at the altar in the Northeast provinces of Brazil. First she heads out of town to find a husband. Unsuccessful, she returns three years later with child in tow to her mother’s funeral. She then takes up the marriage offer of her cranky old neighbor Osias (Lima Duarte) for some kind of security, but his idea of wedded bliss involves lying in a hammock all day while Darlene cooks and cleans for him when she’s not toiling in the fields. Soon she gives birth to her second child.
Things look up after Osias’ cousin Zezinho (Stenio Garcia) comes to live with them. He at least takes over the cooking and cleaning and delivers Darlene’s lunch in the fields to her. Zezinho really likes her. Then she really likes him back. Then comes another child. Before you know it, Darlene is living with three men and has given birth to four sons who, for some reason, don’t look anything alike.
Here, Waddington plays against the macho image of Brazil’s society. The languidly paced light comedy never goes for the level of sex farce. Stenio Garcia is a highlight, but Regina Case basically rules the screen. This is a story about some simple people who arrive at a not-so-simple arrangement that will make all of them at least somewhat happy. For the audience, it’s at least a pleasant enough way to spend a couple of hours.

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