Among relations, everyone wishes to see their kin settled with a partner. Society claims that this gives people support for later in life and helps individuals continue to “thrive”. However, this very idea of marriage and cohabitation is a problematic concept to some. These people continue with their lives, but the only flaw (if applicable) is their over-dependence. Unfortunately, for the ones who haven’t stood on their own feet, their lives are controlled and they can be given an ultimatum. This was the case with the protagonist in Netflix’s Portuguese film- Someone Borrowed.
Someone Borrowed Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
Someone Borrowed (Esposa de Aluguel) shows the tale of one such individual called Luiz. He lives with his mother, and doesn’t work, but he has a great fascination for cooking food. While he is averse to love, he seems to adore the culinary arts. Audiences may even claim that this character showcases this particular emotion in the cooking process.
Luiz’s mother urged him to get married, as she worries about what will happen to her once she passes. At a birthday party, she learns that she has 6 months to live and presents her son with a wish- marry or be written out of the will. More like an ultimatum, it seems.
Stranded with this, Luiz attempts to not break his three rules and fulfill his mother’s wishes. The film focuses on the aspect of misleading and fate-changing mindsets in mysterious ways. Having a real wife is unacceptable, so he resorts to trickery and ropes in an aspiring actress, i.e. ‘someone borrowed’.
Someone Borrowed Movie Review:
Esposa de Aluguel is a rom-com film. And it is formulaic. Reluctance at first follows the ice breaking, and then a misunderstanding is followed by a chase which culminates in a happy ending.
Director Cris D’Amato introduces Luiz (Caio Castro) and Lina (Thati Lopes) simultaneously. Hence, both main characters are established right from the start and audiences can get a hint of why they are a natural fit for each other in his efforts to hoodwink his family.
Writer Luanna Guimaraes includes lines about the perfect way to make a lie stick. It includes a believable backstory, knowledge of all the facts, and the most important thing- do not leave out anything. The film has comic relief moments where these perfect ways get ignored, leading to comical cover-up situations. Further comic relief is present in the timing of Lina’s extempore at a party, which serves as a voiceover to the on-screen presentation of Luiz, who is backstage as a chef.
Luiz and Lina go on a journey of reluctant partners who see their situation as a contract; the two of them look mournful as time ticks by. Luiz actually counted down the days until he could be free of Lina, and well, she was an actress, so even the real displays of attachment from her end could have been considered method acting. Cris D’Amato retained this element of doubt throughout the film thanks to how he introduced her character. However, he left ample clues to prove that the said change was in progress. What was it?
As Someone Borrowed moved along, I was delighted to see that the overacting gave way to acting. I say overacting, as some reactions to moments of grief, or just any moments in general, didn’t seem natural. Chief among these was the scene in the waiting room at the doctor’s clinic. Of course, the words and the music aided this idea that things were really theatrically dramatic. Instances of this gradually reduced over time, except for Maria Inez, who remained excessively over the top throughout.
Someone Borrowed (Esposa de Aluguel) isn’t an absolutely must-watch rom-com film. One can even consider it the usual fare of films that one has come to expect from the streamer as a Hallmark competitor. The only thing unique between the two platforms is that Netflix promotes global content not in the English language and makes it accessible to worldwide audiences. So what different thing does this Portuguese-language Netflix Original bring to the table, though? Nothing. Rom-coms can only hope to be charming and not cheesy. This film has elements of both, but doesn’t veer excessively into one bracket.