Modo Avião [Airplane Mode] (2020)

Modo Avião
Director: César Rodrigues
Writer: Alice Name Bomtempo, Renato Fagundes
Based on: Alberto Bremer and Jonathan Davis‘s script
Cast: Larissa Manoela, Erasmo Carlos, André Luiz Frambach, Nayobe Nzainab, Katiuscia Canoro, Michel Bercovitch, Sílvia Lourenço, Mariana Amâncio, Dani Ornellas, Phellyx Moura, Eike Duarte, Amanda Orestes
Seen on: 22.2.2020

Ana (Larissa Manoela) is a huge influencer working for Carola (Katiuscia Canoro) and her fashion company. When her influencer boyfriend Gil (Eike Duarte) breaks up with her during a livestream and Ana has yet another car accident because she was on her phone, her parents (Michel Bercovitch, Sílvia Lourenço) have had it. They pretend that Ana has been ordered by court to hand over her cell phone and go on a digital detox at her grandfather’s (Erasmo Carlos) place in the middle of nowhere and without cell reception. Ana is appalled. The only bright spot there is João (André Luiz Frambach), the cute grocer’s son. But even as Ana settles into her new life, she still looks for any opportunity to get her hands on a smartphone.

The biggest draw for me to watch this film was the fact that its Brazilian and it’s been a while that I practiced my Portuguese. If that is not a good reason for you, you might want to skip this film because it really doesn’t have that much to offer, though it’s not un-entertaining.

The film poster showing Ana (Larissa Manoela) with a cell phone in her hand.

Not surprisingly, the film seems to fall in with the technology panic crowd, contrasting the big city life where everybody is on their phone with the more relaxed country life where people do have smartphones, too, but not everybody and they are not as obsessed and they are so much better with each other – look at all those real connections compared to the “friendships” that are formed in the city. Watch me as I roll my eyes at that.

Although I have to admit that they didn’t push that angle too far and they do leave room for healthy smartphone use to be okay (whatever healthy is, who knows). In the same way they also avoid heading completely towards misogyny: when Ana arrives at her grandfather’s place, he starts to teach her how to repair cars and at first she wears the most inappropriate (but fashionable) things and hates getting dirty, but she learns to dress like a mechanic and to accept the dirt. What could have ended up as a “eewww, girly things” plot is mitigated by the fact that Ana’s passion remains fashion and that she still gets to be girly when she isn’t working on cars.

Ana (Larissa Manoela) and João (André Luiz Frambach) having a nice picknick.

Apart from that, the film is okay. Manoela isn’t bad at all and Frambach really is very cute and can make the greatest puppy eyes (though it is still unclear to me why he immediately makes puppy eyes at Ana as he meets her as she is trying to steal his sister’s cell phone). They have good chemistry with each other and ground the film, that otherwise is very silly.

That silliness is probably the most defining characteristic of the film. If you like it more than I did, you’ll probably enjoy the film much more than I did, too. For me, it just didn’t move past okay.

Ana (Larissa Manoela) and her best friend Mara (Amanda Orestes) taking a selfie in the gym.

Summarizing: Oh well.

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