Elizabeth Bishop will make of the new bio-pic REACHING FOR THE MOON. Other than her connection to another American poet, Robert Lowell, TrustMovies knew little about this woman, her poetry or her life and loves prior to viewing the film -- which makes me pretty much virgin territory and thus more susceptible to the beauty and charm of this very well-acted movie that concentrates on what appears to be the major and lengthy love affair of Bishop's life: to the female Brazilian architect, Lota de Macedo Soares.
Matthew Chapman (yes, the writer/director of The Ledge!) and Julie Sayres, from an earlier screenplay by Carolina Kotscho, based in turn on the novel Flores raras e banalíssimas by Carmen L. Oliveira, and the final product proves good enough to carry us along and offer occasional pointed and juicy highlights. Elizabeth's sad, heartfelt but honest speech at a gathering after a political coup has taken place is one of these (Ms Otto's fierce intelligence is well-used here and elsewhere in the film).
Tracy Middendorf (the blond with baby, above, playing Elizabeth's friend and Lota's lover who brings the two together and then regrets it forever) and Treat Williams (below, right, who has a cameo role as Robert Lowell) are well-used, too.
Marcelo Zarvos) is both lovely and unobtrusive, and the cinematography (Mauro Pinheiro Jr.) should do more for tourism than anythng set in Brazil I've seen in a long while. If the film itself can seem occasionally paint-by-numbers, Otto and Pires create character canvases that are wholly original.
Paris Theater and Angelika Film Center, and in Los Angeles on November 29 at Laemmle's Royal, Town Center 5 and Playhouse 7. You can see all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters by clicking here.