12-year-old Mauro is left alone after his parents get taken away by the military during the regime of 1970’s Brazil. Mauro’s parents told him they were going “on vacation” to keep Mauro from worrying and claim to be back before the World Cup of soccer. Now, Mauro must wait patiently for his parents return from vacation in hope that they will arrive before Pele leads his country to victory.
Like most foreign films, it’s is beautifully shot. Unfortunately, it suffers from leaving viewers who aren’t familiar with the game of soccer isolated and distant from what’s going on. This builds up frustration for those who know there is a good movie to be found here. Foreign film buffs will most likely be pleased and scope out the masterpiece within. However, if you are the casual movie goer, it ends up being nothing spectacular and overlooking the film will save you some precious viewing time.
The first half of the movie is dull and doesn’t show much of a breakthrough until the third act, where we see a glimpse of a great movie. It does have moments of humor wedged in that up the entertainment level, but the bottom line is that even a great ending can’t subdue the mild frustration beforehand.
Vacation is strong in most aspects of film including direction, acting, and cinematography. Cao Hamburger does well at avoiding clichés and directs the film with style, Michel Joelsas gave a true performance as a distraught child, and the cinematography was remarkable. This is what makes it a well made Foreign film and helped gathered up praise from both critics and audiences.
I acknowledge all of the films major accomplishes, but I can’t quite say that it held my interest. The dilatory pace and timid approach nearly put me to sleep and while most of the performances are authentic, the characters are underwritten. This is a film that I can’t recommend, but do see the talent and reasons for its acclaim. A film that isn’t completely original, but still has a refreshing feel to it. Something that isn’t my cup of tea, but deserves attention. 2.5/5 stars