Good Manners (org. title: As boas maneiras) is unlike any werewolf movie you’ve ever seen before. So much heart – and a lot of hair and blood!
Good Manners is a pretty crazy ride. It’s basically divided into two separate stories, which are (of course) connected. First part is a love story between two adults, while the second half is about the love between a parent and a child.
Oh yeah, and this is very much a werewolf movie. That’s very clear at all times!
We don’t usually do spoilers here at Heaven of Horror, but since the movie poster for Good Manners already shows this, I don’t consider what I say next to be an actual spoiler.
In Good Manners, you will get to see an infant werewolf. And I have to admit, I never ever thought I’d be so emotional about a “were-baby”. Then again, it’s basically a baby-puppy hybrid, so what’s not to love – especially the puppy part!
Also, I better tell you that this movie has elements of a musical in it.
Now, don’t get your panties in a twist. It’s not like this is an actual musical. Rather music is used to tell the story.
Instead of vast monologues, the heavier emotional stuff is explained through music. And it works. It really works, so just give it a chance.
In general, sounds are a very important part of Good Manners. It’s a way of explaining how the senses change and are sharpened, but also a way of intensifying everything.
Love conquers all
Even though Good Manners is listed as being both Fantasy and Horror, it’s not too dreamy. Fantasy can often soften the horror elements, and maybe this is the case here as well, but there is lots of blood.
The softer parts of the story can be found in the love stories. Which really shouldn’t put any horror fan off watching this movie.
Afterall, most horror movies have an element of love story in them. Whether it’s someone avenging a loved one or fighting to protect them.
In this case, the love and chemistry between the stars, Isabél Zuaa and Marjorie Estiano, is perfect. It’s honest and heartbreaking in the best of ways. Neither have easy lives, but they find a way to be better together.
But again, this is a werewolf movie. As a rule, having a werewolf around isn’t exactly a good thing, since they have a tendency to enjoy eating frenzies during full moons. And yes, we are talking about werewolves as if they were an actual thing because that’s the way this story deals with it.
For once, we don’t have to go through half a movie before someone acknowledges the elephant (or werewolf, as it were) in the room. If a person turns into a dog-like animal during the full moon, then you’re dealing with a werewolf. Case closed.
The flesh is weak
While love may conquer all, the flesh is still weak for a werewolf. We experience this first hand through the person, who makes herself a werewolf guardian.
This self-appointed werewolf guardian, Clara, comes from the poorer part of town. She’s portrayed with an intensity by Isabél Zuaa, who is all heart.
She plays a character, who will do whatever it takes to protect her loved ones. Even if it means hurting them (or herself) in the process.
I haven’t seen Isabél Zuaa in anything before since she works in Brazil primarily, but she is absolutely amazing. A scene-stealer if ever, I saw one.
Also, the young Miguel Lobo deserves special mention. He has some brilliant scenes and it both cute and kinda annoying at times. Also, he’s in a scene which is clearly an homage to An American Werewolf in London in terms of transformation.
Power-duo behind Good Manners
Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra wrote and directed Good Manners together. This isn’t the first time the two have worked together in various ways. And hopefully, it won’t be the last either, because this movie truly is noteworthy.
The movie has a rather long runtime at 2 hours and 15 minutes, but it totally works. Especially since the story is divided into two parts, as mentioned earlier in this review.
Good Manners is currently screened at film festivals worldwide. It has been nominated for various awards and took home the Audience Award in September at L’Etrange Festival in France.
Also, it won the Special Jury Prize at Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland, where the movie had its world premiere.
We watched Good Manners (As Boas Maneiras) at the Copenhagen Film Festival CPH PIX 2017 in Denmark on October 1, 2017.
If you get the chance to watch this Brazilian werewolf gem, then make sure you jump at the opportunity!
Directors: Marco Dutra, Juliana Rojas
Writers: Marco Dutra, Juliana Rojas
Cast: Isabél Zuaa, Marjorie Estiano, Miguel Lobo
Clara, a lonely nurse from the outskirts of São Paulo, is hired by mysterious and wealthy Ana as the nanny for her unborn child. The two women quickly develop a strong bond, but one fateful night changes everything.