Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976)

“He was a gigolo, a bum, and a shameless drunkard… A swindler, a penniless gambler, a cheap crook! A scoundrel!”

Dona Flor Poster

Synopsis:
After the death of her womanizing husband (Jose Wilker), Dona Flor (Sonia Braga) marries a loyal yet boring pharmacist (Mauro Mendonca). But when Flor finds herself unconsciously lusting for her ex-husband, his sudden ghostly appearance complicates her new marriage.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this “tremendously popular” Brazilian sex comedy — which bears resemblance to both Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit (1945) and Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It (1986) — is actually rather serious, and contains “few humorous moments”; indeed, the entire first hour of the film is spent showing how badly Flor is treated by her no-good husband. On the other hand, there’s plenty of ribald sensuality to enjoy, and the film’s underlying theme of female sexual empowerment is a satisfying one. Peary correctly notes that both men and women will be able to relate to the lead characters here, whose messy, all-too-human desires cause them both conflict and joy.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Sonia Braga as Dona Flor
  • Jose Wilker as Flor’s philandering husband
  • Chico Buarque’s infectious Brazilian score

Must See?
No, but it’s recommended as an enjoyable Brazilian comedy.

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One Response to “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976)”

  1. Not a must.

    Tho I hadn’t seen this at all until just now, I do remember that, upon release, it was THE date movie. Now I understand why: specifics of the plot aside, there’s more than enough here to pave the way for follow-up foreplay.

    (MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD…)

    But what is this movie about, really? It’s about a naive woman who has for a husband a womanizing jerk whose only ‘redeeming quality’ is that he’s great in bed. She wants him to be a doting husband as well but, well, too bad, he’s not. Then he croaks. (As someone relates, “Asses [are] sobbing in despair!”)

    She then marries a man who IS a doting husband but more than a bit ‘by the book’ in bed. Gee – wouldn’t it be great to have both characteristics in one husband?, she no doubt wonders. But since, apparently, she can’t have that she…somehow…wills her dead hubby back. And then, of course, she’s guilt-ridden ’cause she’s remarried and, after all, hubby #1 really is an a-hole, but…the conclusion reads: ‘So what?, he’s an a-hole; he’s still a great f**k, and I can still have my doting husband as well!’

    Braga’s character’s fantasy is an understandable one. I wonder if I would feel differently about the film overall if it took a different approach and, for starters, her first husband were a lot less unsavory. I don’t know.

    All I know for sure is that as a dramedy it’s very uneven – and my mind wandered.

    Although Braga has the lead here, her part still feels under-developed to me. She would be seen to better, more intriguing advantage 9 years later in ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’.

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