Good Manners is a 2017 Brazilian film written and directed by Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas (now showing on Mubi). Taking off from the directors’ previous film, 2015’s Hard Labor, supernatural disturbances are used to examine economic disparity, in this tale of a lonely nurse who is hired by a wealthy mother-to-be…
Like Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho before it, Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas’ Good Manners is really two films yoked together by a gut-wrenching eruption of violence at the midpoint – one that announces the ‘real film’ is about to begin. The less said about that the better.
When you have a screenplay fixed on turning the screw, the distinction between fantasy and realism can seem somewhat irrelevant
Good Manners could be billed as horror, musical, or fable – but when you have a screenplay fixed on turning the screw, the distinction between fantasy and realism can seem somewhat irrelevant. As in fiction, so in life: I’m watching the film on a train, slipping crisps underneath my face mask and wondering if licking the salt off my fingertips is disgusting the suited man across the aisle from me; I must be living in make-believe. No, this is real life.
As it turns out, hunger (for which you can also read desire); eating and disgust; class, and social responsibility are among the film’s primary themes – as well as motherhood (perhaps not so applicable to my snack on the train.)