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Parents' Guide to

Shine Your Eyes

By Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Brazil-set tale has mature themes of family, immigration.

Movie NR 2020 102 minutes
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This is a sensitive and thoughtful movie that invites the viewer to decipher themes and ideas suggested in both the story and the way it's filmed. Responsibility for this tale ringing true rests entirely on the shoulders of actor OC Ukeje, who plays Amadi. We view this foreign city, Sao Paulo, through his eyes, and as the star of just about every scene in the film, Ukeje deftly communicates his character's internal struggles with family and culture as well as the foreigner's wonder, confusion, apprehension, and need to trust in others.

Director Matias Mariani underscores these conflicting sensations by conspicuously framing characters within the triangular angles of Sao Paulo's urban constructions. Set up as a mystery, the untangling of the missing brother's circumstances is much less interesting than Amadi's own journey of discovery. That may be why the relationships Amadi forms in Sao Paulo and his own internal battles make for compelling storylines that carry Shine Your Eyes, while a scene of reunion toward the end meant to be climactic feels a little disappointing.

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