Starring: Ingrid Guimarães, Fábio Assunção, João Assunção
Director: José Eduardo Belmonte
Running Time: 100 mins
Back And Forth (Entre idas e vindas) is a Brazilian film about a father and son who cross paths with a group of four call centre workers on holiday, as they set out to meet the young boy’s estranged mother.
This film was a bit of a disappointing misfire. With a premise that, while not the world’s most original, has great potential for emotional depth and enthralling drama, Back And Forth unfortunately takes the story in a frustratingly predictable direction throughout, failing to capitalise on an engrossing collection of characters and back stories, as it descends into a road trip comedy/romantic drama that you’ve seen a good few times before.
Let’s start off on the bright side, with that relatively engrossing opening act that sets the film up on a good footing. Combining light but not overly silly comedy with tender emotional drama that hits surprisingly hard right from the start, Back And Forth does well to grab you from the beginning, particularly with the delicate back stories of the film’s two main characters, as played by Fábio Assunção and Ingrid Guimarães.
With a tender and engrossing portrayal of two adults whose lives have gone astray over the years, the film starts off in brilliant fashion, and with a selection of equally interesting secondary characters, there’s a surprising amount of depth whichever way you look here.
Unfortunately, however, the film quickly runs out of steam as it heads into its main road trip phase. With the exception of a couple of quiet and moving moments, it’s a film that doesn’t try hard enough to keep the core emotional drama at the centre of the focus, disappointingly turning its focus to current events without enough reference back to the stories of how each of the characters got to where they are.
So, rather than a continued look at the emotional scars that remain to this day for the main characters, the film sits a little too content with a predictable and fairly boring romance, all the while occasionally chiming in with the odd bit of road trip comedy that, while not particularly annoying, signals a departure from the strong balance between a lighter atmosphere and real drama that was present in the opening act.
As a result, Back And Forth unfortunately grinds to a bit of a half before it ever really gets going, and despite having such a genuinely engrossing opening, there’s just not enough to really grab you as the film goes on, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.6 overall.