The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?)

Critics Consensus

The Second Mother's compelling characters serve an artfully drawn, thought-provoking story that's beautifully brought to life by a talented cast.



Total Count: 88


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,114
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Movie Info

Val spends 13 years working as nanny to Fabinho in Sao Paulo. She is financially stable but has to live with the guilt of having left her daughter Jessica, in Pernambuco, in the north of Brazil, raised by relatives. As college entrance exams roll around, Jessica wants to come to Sao Paulo to take her college entrance exams too. When Jessica arrives, cohabitation is not easy. Everyone will be affected by the personality and candor of the girl and Val finds herself right in the middle of it.

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Critic Reviews for The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?)

All Critics (88) | Top Critics (26)

  • All the elements of the story fit impeccably together for a humorous and occasionally wrenching examination of relationships.

    Sep 24, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The characters are so accustomed to keeping up appearances that they can't bring themselves to say what's bugging them. Their interactions may be mild, but the claustrophobic imagery creates the sense of being trapped in a powder keg.

    Sep 17, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Though hardly revolutionary, "Mother" subverts conventions - both cinematic and social.

    Sep 17, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The Second Mother is an interesting look at generational and class divides in Brazil, without the feel of a lecture or lesson.

    Sep 10, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • We've seen plenty of stories about the arrival of a mysterious stranger upsetting the order of things. But "The Second Mother," Brazilian writer and director Anna Muylaert's outstanding film, is different.

    Sep 10, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The characters' pigeonholed social roles display Muylaert's intentions from the start and render the drama superfluous.

    Sep 7, 2015 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?)

  • Oct 01, 2015
    VIFF Review: "The Second Mother" is comedy/drama that is very fun to watch thanks to Regina Casé's hilarious/realistic performance. In a way, the film's title actually has double play as the majority of the film, the main character is a maid for this rich family and she is almost a second mother to them, but the real and biggest play on it's title comes at the very end as it wraps the film up in a nice little bow. It really is the perfect ending for this film which also contains the biggest laugh of the entire movie. Camila Márdila is also great in this as the maid's daughter who comes to stay with her after 10 years of not seeing her and now that she is staying with her at the rich family's house, she changes the dynamic of everything at an alarming rate which creates tension between the mother and daughter. It's a film about family relationships and it's also a film about self respect and where is the line between a job and being one's slave. It's a really fun watch and a movie that could be up for the "Best Foreign Language Film" category come Oscar season. 7.5/10
    ZACHO D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 25, 2015
    At the heart of The Second Mother is a warm, humorous, gently nuanced performance from Regina Casé, a veteran actress of the Brazilian stage and TV. Her daughter's contemptuous attitude arises out of Jessica's refusal to accept the social class disparity that separates her mother from her supervisors. Val's exasperated protestations are amusing, but also quite reasonable. You sympathize with Val. There is a resilience and dignity to her within her deferential demeanor. Her strained relationship with her own daughter is contrasted with the beloved esteem to which her employers' son, regards her. And why shouldn't he? Val raised him from a toddler to adolescence, while her biological offspring is but a stranger to her. Ironically Fabinho's connection with his own mother is more distant. This slight, at times inconsequential drama, ambles along at a leisurely pace through a series of circumstances that underlie hierarchical social categories in South American life. The examination culminates more with a whimper than a bang, but the journey to get there is fairly interesting nonetheless.
    Mark H Super Reviewer
  • Aug 30, 2015
    Regina Casé is wonderful at the center of a marvelous character study that is equally hilarious and thought-provoking as it comments - always in an intelligent and honest way - on matters like class differences in a country that has been undergoing surprising social changes.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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