Rio de Janeiro, 1959: a place where men, race and fame rule the political and social spectrum of the beaches and night clubs. Not much has changed throughout the years. Yet, the norms are challenged by Maria Luiza, a housewife from São Paulo, who embraces her alter ego Malu to open a live music club, Coisa Mais Linda, with the help of strong women by her side. After all, it a woman’s world.
Netflix’s new international show has hit the shelves along with its revealing trailer. Coisa Mais Linda features a season with seven episodes in Portuguese.
The trailer vividly drops the plot of the show: Malu’s husband left her and took all her money, but she still ran the club. “What happened to him? How did she do it?” Most viewers would dig into the show with these questions, but they aren’t what caught my eye.
Both then and now, society shapes divorce as a shame to an individual’s life, and stating it publicly is even worse. It’s also sweet despair to the individuals involved, especially to women. However, that did not stop Malu from becoming an independent woman. Even though her best friend, Lagía, tried to stop her from telling her story to all of Rio, Malu publicly announced the failure of her marriage with pride.
The show explores the challenge of changing a man’s world in the 1950s with female empowerment. Malu, Lagía, Adélia and Thereza have their own problems to face individually.
Lagía is a trophy wife who deals with her husband and his abuse. Lagía sacrificed her passion for singing for the pleasure of her husband and her social status. It didn’t get better as her husband started putting his hand on her. Lagía redeems herself and her worth to seek happiness in life. While life does not work out for Lagía, the show includes her storyline to leave the viewers in shock in the last episode.
Adélia is a working woman in Brazil, strictly providing for her daughter. Adélia worked her entire life to survive as a black woman in the 1950s. In addition, she faced racial discrimination in her work as a maid. However, that does not stop her from having a vibrant personality that leaves an everlasting mark in the show as well as the viewers. Her determination is realistic yet captivating as she is challenging the social status. Frankly, the most notable part of Adélia is that she’s illiterate – but what most people believe is a huge obstacle is not one for Adélia.
Thereza is a journalist for a women’s magazine that is run by men. It’s quite a handful, but Thereza challenges her colleagues and society. Thereza is no stranger to misogyny as being the only woman on the floor comes with limits. Nevertheless, that does not stop her from channeling a real woman’s perspective from the magazine into the real world. Thereza is also the only confirmed queer character within the show.
Coisa Mais Linda is a realistic and charismatic show that is fondly pleasing to the human eye. The show captures the whimsical nature of the beaches of Rio that is purely aesthetic while displaying a fascinating journey of a modern feminist movement. As for the acting, the cast transforms into their characters with an innovative style of acting.
Music is an essential part of Coisa Mais Linda, regarding both the show and club. Bossa nova, a new wave of music in Brazil that mixes samba and jazz, is highly respected within the show. Chico, a love interest in the show, is invested into the music as he soothes the viewers and club goers. In fact, the background music is entirely based off of bossa nova.
Coisa Mais Linda, which translates to “Most Beautiful Thing” in English, is a hidden gem roaring in the Netflix catalog. The show breaks through the barriers of society in a decade that has hard chains to break. Malu, Lagía, Adélia and Thereza are strong female characters who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the lifeline of women. They will continue their journey in season two.