Here’s to the 1950s. The new drama from Netflix, “Most Beautiful Thing,” is a sweet taste of what Brazil knows how to do best; drama and music. It’s produced and written by Giuliano Cedroni and Heather Roth.
The show portrays controversial topics to for viewers to reflect on. Don’t be worried about understanding Portuguese dialogue. Netflix produced the seven-episode on-demand series dubbed, or if you prefer, captioned in English.
It’s the year 1959 and Maria Luíza Carone Furtado aka Malú (Maria Casadevall) lands in Rio expecting to meet her husband Pedro.
The drama begins when Malú finds out that Pedro took all of their money and has abandoned her to be with his mistress.
Malú comes from a wealthy and traditional family in Sao Paulo. To tell everyone the truth and accept that she had become a single mother was not her first choice.
With all her dreams and hopes crushed, Malú decides to confront the prejudice and sexism of the time to live her life as an independent woman. She opts to turn the restaurant she was supposed to open with Pedro into her dream bossa nova club.
The show would not be complete without Malú’s friends. In the 1950s, women did not have a voice in Brazilian society. Each character confronts an aspect of what being a woman meant at that time.
Adélia Araújo (Pathy Dejesus) is a black woman from the community. She saves Malú’s life in many ways. Adélia shows Malú that their lives and privileges are different. Adélia came from a family with a history of slavery, while Malú had choices. They decide to take a chance at success together.
Joining them is Lígia Soares (Fernanda Vasconcellos), Malú’s childhood best friend. Her dream is to be a singer. Stopped by her husband, Lígia has to keep a smile on her face while hiding the abuse and bruises caused by her violent husband.
For women in Brazil at that time, having a job was considered progressive. Thereza Soares (Mel Lisboa) takes on the challenge and has to tolerate many sexist comments as the only female writer at a women’s magazine.
The quartet faces the many different struggles experienced by women at that time. The show also tackles topics of morality, feminism, women’s rights, social inequality, abortion and LGBT lifestyles. Some of these issues, of course, remain challenges for women today.
The women encourage and empower one another as they overcome their fears and confront the men in their lives for the right to be free. Malú has many quotable lines and one of the best is “Never let your husband control your money or your life.”
As with any good drama, there is also romance. Chico Carvalho (Leandro Lima) completes the show with his music and good looks. Chico’s voice is not the only thing Malú falls in love with.
If the storyline hasn’t intrigued you yet, the landscape and the beautiful soundtrack will. Rio is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever experienced. It’s hard to explain, but Rio has something magical that invades your soul. It’s something you can never forget.
With the captivating rhythms of samba and bossa nova in the background, this on-demand series is one of the “most beautiful things” on television.