Starring: Zezé Polessa, Daniel Dantas, Fernanda Paes Leme
Director: Alexandre Reinecke
Running Time: 88 mins
Couples Counselling (O Amor no Divã) is a Brazilian film about a married couple who seek counselling from a seasoned expert, however over the course of their sessions, the counsellor herself discovers that her own marriage is far from ideal.
I have to say that I had fun with this film. It’s nothing particularly outstanding or original, and it really strugglest to create genuine, engrossing character development, but for the most part, it’s a light-hearted, enjoyable and above all not shrill film about dysfunctional couples, complete with three excellent lead performances throughout.
Now, I said there that the most important thing about this movie is that it isn’t shrill. It’s easy to understand how this story works in a light-hearted, silly context, with the hijinks and tensions between the two main couples reaching ridiculous extents, but one area where this premise almost always falls down is in its overemphasis on the shrill and often even rather angry marital arguments that form the backbone of the story.
That’s not to say that there’s no arguing here, but it’s handled in a way that makes it work for the comedic side of the story, rather than taking things too seriously and trying to be dramatic with rows that are generally fairly generic and extremely hyperbolic.
As a result, while I can’t say that its screenplay is the greatest ever written, the lack of shrill arguing, and the presence of more fun-loving, silly humour is without a shadow of a doubt what makes this film a fun watch in the end, allowing you to suspend your disbelief and sit back with an hour and a half of fluffy, harmless comedy.
However, one of the other advantages of the film’s lack of annoying, shrill arguing is that it actually makes the characters a lot more endearing. As such, when it does come to some of the more dramatic moments, you’re actually willing to relate to the characters, rather than simply repulse at the idea if they were more annoying or mean-spirited.
So, altogether, Couples Counselling is a really rather likable movie, and with a good sense of humour, as well as three excellent performances from Zezé Polessa, Daniel Dantas and Fernanda Paes Leme that make the characters both as endearing and entertaining as possible, it’s difficult not to have a good bit of fun throughout.
The only real issue with this film is that, as a dramatic arc, it really isn’t that interesting, and there’s actually very little that changes come the end when compared to the beginning. As I said, the movie does a good job to make you laugh and smile, and that’s enough to make it a fun watch, but there is still a story that it’s trying to tell, one about two married couples going through differing crises, yet it really doesn’t manage to make that at all interesting.
One of the main reasons for that is the fact there just isn’t much in the way of real character development throughout. Sure, the couples sort out their differences, but they don’t really change as people, and actually seem to return to the slightly happier versions of themselves at the beginning, having been through a crisis in the middle portion of the movie.
As a result, there’s not much dramatic conflict, and although the film is only 88 minutes long, it does drag a little when it becomes apparent that there really isn’t much in the way of original or surprising drama coming your way. Couples Counselling is, however, a light, fun watch, and while it definitely fails to tell its story in the way it aims to, it does enough with its humour, charisma and performances to make for an enjoyable hour and a half all the same, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.3 overall.