A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Confessions of an Invisible Girl is a Brazilian feature (dubbed into English from the Portuguese) that observes the teenage desire to fit in from the point of view of a girl who has always felt like an outcast, friendless, and the victim of her parents' and grandparents' relentless and sometimes hurtful encouragement. Teens kiss and a gay character is accepted as he is. Bullying. A mean girl wrestles with another girl, then stomps on her eyeglasses and blames the other girl for the whole thing.
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What's the story?
Tete (Klara Castanho) is the title character of CONFESSIONS OF AN INVISIBLE GIRL. Her parents and grandparents never let her forget that she has no friends, that she has a moustache and unibrow, and that the sweat marks under her arms are unsightly. Dragged down by their relentless criticism yet still oddly perky and upbeat, 15-year-old Tete heads for a new school in Rio de Janeiro, certain her social failure will continue. And it does, not because she's shy or sweaty, but because she's constantly in everyone's face. Unsurprisingly, most of the kids find her hard to take. Inexplicably, the school's Romeo kisses her, but apparently he kisses everyone. His girlfriend Valentina (Julia Gomes) is a popular girl, mean too, and she takes an instant and vocal dislike to Tete. A few rebel against Valentina. Zeca, (Stepan Nercessain) openly gay and filled with the wisdom of an outsider, embraces her. So does Davi (Gabriel Lima), a handsome and bright boy who is unrealistically labeled a "nerd," which puts him at the lowest level of the school's social echelon and therefore, supposedly, only fit to befriend Tete. Zeca undertakes the inevitable Tete makeover, with face wax and a comb and brush, and Grandma places absorbent pads in Tete's sweaty armpits. Tete, claiming she never speaks, noisily asks a popular girl for an invitation to her coveted party. Tete is rudely turned down, but she goes anyway and overhears Valentina disparaging everyone at school as "losers," a declaration that is recorded and later revealed in a class. Valentina assumes Tete engineered the embarrassment and starts a physical fight, witnessed by a teacher who stands by and does nothing. Will Tete ever get her happy ending?
Is it any good?
The problem with Confessions of an Invisible Girl is that its title character is about as invisible as a tornado. She declares that she is the girl who never speaks a word in class for the whole year, but Tete is noisy, outgoing, pushy, and downright irritating. Yes, she is teased mercilessly by mean girl Valentina, but Valentina hates everyone and has some soul-searching of her own to do. Tete is a busybody. Despite her own sensitivities, she rarely stops to consider that it's not shyness, anxiety, or awkwardness that puts everyone off, but her inappropriate boldness. Tete has the gumption to ask the popular girl throwing a party for an invitation. When she's pointedly turned down, she ignores the diss and goes anyway.
In addition to a script that demonstrates no knowledge of its own main character, the movie boasts dreadful dialogue featuring words no teenager would ever be caught dead saying. Equally implausible is a storyline that climaxes when, only moments after being exposed, a lifelong mean girl publicly apologizes to everyone and all the people she has harmed over many years hug her. As if that ever happened. The few wise messages offered at the movie's end -- "changes that really matter happen within," for example -- come too late to save this. Further, subtitles would have been a far better choice. The voice actors dubbed onto these characters make the movie feel like a cartoon where animated lips don't match the words we hear.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Tete feels like an outcast. The title calls her "invisible," but isn't she the opposite? Do you think people don't like her because she tries to impose herself on them? What are some other reasons?
Tete describes herself as the girl in class who never speaks all year. Doesn't she repeatedly, boldly introduce herself and impose herself on strangers? Do you think the film's writer didn't notice the contradiction or do you think this was a deliberate attempt to show that Tete has no insight into herself?
The bully here suddenly apologizes. Do you believe her remorse is sincere? Do you think people can change that quickly and easily? Why or why not?
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