Reaching for the Moon

Directed by Bruno Barreto
2013
USA
118 mins

Winner of the Audience Award at Frameline37: The San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, this sumptuous period piece recounts the mid-life years of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop. In 1951, the then obscure woman writer decides to take a trip—”the geographic cure,” her friend Robert “Cal” Lowell (Treat Williams) teases. And so Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy) sets sail for Rio de Janeiro and a life-changing relationship with the wealthy, and very butch, architect Lota de Macedo Soares. Pampered by the extravagant Lota, Elizabeth writes, wins awards, and is feted by Rio society. But problems lurk: Elizabeth’s alcoholism, Lota’s difficulties building Rio’s Flamengo Park, and a government coup.

Director Bruno Barreto beautifully captures the vibrant feel of design-conscious mid-century Brazil; however, it’s the sharp writing, smoldering on-screen chemistry, and stellar performances (particularly by Brazilian telenovela star Gloria Pires) that make this lavish big-screen adaptation of a messy, yet gloriously romantic, relationship so deeply satisfying.

Frameline distributes this title for educational sales. For home video purchase, rentals, and other inquiries, please visit Wolfe.

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