Directed by: #LeandroNeri
After a bad breakup, social media influencer Nina (Cordeiro) takes her three girlfriends on a free trip to Bahia’s colourful, exciting Carnival and learns the true meaning of life over her social media status.
Carnival (2021) is Brazilian Netflix romantic comedy released on the streaming platform June 2nd, perfectly timed for the summer period. The film offers light, easy-going fun for an hour and a half with a bare, slim plot which is somewhat forgiven because of the compelling vibrant qualities the production has to give.
The film’s opening gives us a flavour of how the rest will pan out, with a quick exposition sequence of Nina briefly describing the stereotypical personalities of her friends before we move on to the next scene with barely any time to breathe. The girls are first introduced at surface level: the nerdy friend, Vivi (Pascotto), the flirty friend, Michelle (Kayane) and the ‘soul sister’, Mayra (Inocencio), but each are given some development at various points in the film. Although the pacing is very brisk as if the movie is on speed, it does fit the quirky and flashy style of comedy the simplistic, generic screenplay presents and does maintain constant engagement throughout despite its flaws.
The film does suffer from trying to cover too many real issues and some do fall short as a result. The toxicity of the social media business is explored in more depth with Nina attempting to reach more and more followers to keep up with her surrounding influencers and learning the true meaning of life along the way. The message is obvious and predictable from the beginning and there is not much subtlety in showing how Nina is becoming increasingly self-obsessed and dismissive of her friends and (unsurprisingly!) she makes up with them at the end and learns the mistakes she has made in her quest for popularity. The final message is delivered with overexaggerated voiceovers and flashbacks, leaving the drama feeling stale and the other themes of coming out and celebrity culture are not touched on enough.
Despite the film’s shortcomings, its biggest strengths are the charming and quick witted humour riddled throughout and an overall fun, irresistible spark. It captures that lovely feeling of summer perfectly with the stunning locations, bright costumes and youthful vibes. The inclusion of the film nerd Vivi also leads to some well realised comedy when she finally meets a man who shares her passion for fan culture, with her asking guys various questions relating to Star Wars (1977-), Harry Potter and Back to the Future (1985) in the hopes that she will finally find her match. All of the girls and the rest of the ensemble cast perform with an inviting energetic, bouncy presence and it is believable that the four girls have been best friends for years due to the infectious chemistry of the young leads.
Overall, Carnival offers a rhythmic, fun time for friends and family to kick back and enjoy a harmless summer movie with a vibrant tone and an important, if overplayed and predictable, final message.
Carnival (2021) Trailer: