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Insert Comma • A Portfolio of Leigh E. Rich
‘Possible Loves’
Categories: Film, Utrinque Paratus

Denver International Film Festival

By Leigh E. Rich

Life for Carlos is rough: Too many people love him. And all he must do is decide—a gargantuan task of which this 30-something seems particularly incapable. Poor, poor man.

A Brazilian romantic comedy reminiscent of Sliding Doors, Possible Loves tells the story—well, three stories—of Carlos, a lawyer caught up in the search for his soul mate, a woman named Julia whom he bravely asked out in college. Trouble was, she stood him up, and Carlos was left holding his popcorn at the movies 15 years ago.

Now, as Director Sandra Werneck subtly explains is this triptych cinematic escapade, Carlos—in his three possible lives that make up the plotline—has a chance with Julia again.

In one scenario, Carlos is an established, young professional sporting facial hair and supporting him and his wife, Maria. Bumping into Julia at an art exhibition one evening, the two former college-mates begin an affair, and Carlos must grapple with choosing between two women who love him dearly—so much, in fact, neither is angry with him when they catch him in his tangled web of deceit.

In another life, Carlos and Julia are former spouses, a situation of Carlos’ creation when he left her for another man, and the two share custody of their young son, Lucas. Again, Carlos is torn between remaining with Pedro, a soccer player who pampers Carlos and seeks nothing more than his adoration, and divorcée Julia, so bitter following her husband’s departure she’s become narrow-minded and hates herself for it. Here, too, Carlos has the chance to reunite with his one, true love, wreaking havoc on both of his suitors’ lives.

Finally, and perhaps as the true foil in this tri-story setup, there’s the clean-shaven “Leisure Suit” Carlos, who drinks all night, chases skull-tattooed women about his dining-room table until the wee hours of the morn, and … lives with his mother. Caught up in his fantasy quest, and perhaps himself that much more, “party” Carlos uses a Big Brother-esque computer matching service to find his soul mate for him (after selecting for a “great ass,” of course). Lo and behold, it’s Julia, this time a tequila-swigging, sex-crazed artist.

Unfortunately, mummy doesn’t like this brash woman and, once more, Carlos must choose between the woman who bore him and the one who handcuffs him to her bed.

While not probing too far beneath the surface of these obviously neurotic and DSM-diagnosably quirky characters, Possible Loves is a multi-universe, lighthearted take on the idea that “all is as it should be.” Life is full of decisions, many of which are merely different, not better. They’re just choices, after all.

And as for Carlos, well, he’s just full of himself. We should all be so lucky to be that adored.

A quaint jaunt, Possible Loves doesn’t move any of the story lines—or the audience for that matter—beyond this simple idea. And, in the end, Carlos wins. All three of them. 

Rich, L. E. (2001, October 17). ‘Possible Loves.’ CU-Denver Advocate.

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