Available to stream on Netflix from today is the Brazilian coming-of-age comedy, Confessions of an Invisible Girl (aka Confissões de uma Garota Excluída). The film follows the story of Teanira de Oliveira – Tetê for short – a socially awkward teenager who feels as if she largely fades into the background in life.
Tetê never seems to fit in. She struggles with issues relating to her body, and constantly feels at odds with her family, who mean well but always say the wrong thing – especially when talking to a teenager about her appearance.
Her school life is not much better. She struggles to make friends, attracts the wrong kind of attention from a fellow student (aka the school bitch), and constantly falls over herself when in the company of Erick – the blond-haired heartthrob in her class, who she has a crush on.
Keen to fit in, and hopefully catch the attention of Erick, Tetê undergoes a makeover to alter her appearance. But can a monobrow wax and a new dress really turn things around or will Tetê find that navigating her way through high school will be a bumpy ride regardless?
Confessions of an Invisible Girl is directed by Bruno Garotti and stars Klara Castanho, Lucca Picon, and Júlia Rabello. The movie is based on the best-selling novel by Thalita Rebouças, is bright and breezy, and is a fairly enjoyable teen flick.
It’s not a movie aimed at my generation – someone who is entering middle age – but for the right target audience, who are happy to watch Brazilian movies, there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had here. The film looks at the drama that comes with adolescence, with a story that is told in a contemporary way.
The cast are likeable, and fill out their roles perfectly fine. Sure, those roles are the usual stereotypes (the nerd, the bitch, the gay best friend, etc), but they work for the film, and as this movie is aimed at a teen audience, it’s unlikely those watching will be all that familiar with these stereotypes.
The standout star of the movie is Klara Castanho, who takes on the lead role of Tetê. Castanho knows how to play goofy when required, but can also show maturity when the moment calls for it.
The actress makes Tetê’s journey an identifiable one, bringing an ‘every girl’ quality to the role. Her relationship with friends and family is filled with heart, the trials and tribulations she faces at high school are enjoyable to watch, and most important of all, she comes across as engaging and believable.
Her world and her problems are not too different to the issues facing other teens and I’m pretty sure many young audiences watching this movie will find relatable content. There’s certainly enough material here to keep audiences invested in the story and it never falls short or stumbles.
Arguably the biggest flaw with Confessions of an Invisible Girl is the fact that this story has played out many times before. Once again, this may not be a huge problem for the target audience, who are unlikely to have watched every teen movie that has come before it, but for this reviewer it did feel as if I was walking incredibly familiar ground.
And as I am covering old terrain, I do have to ask myself the question: Does this movie stand up to other films from the same genre? I believe it does, but that’s not to say that it is the best teen coming-of-age picture out there.
Were I to recommend a teen flick, I would plump for something along the lines of Clueless (1995), Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008), Easy A (2010), or Love, Simon (2018) as these are all strong examples from the genre. But what teen is going to listen to a recommendation from an old timer like me?
The teens that watch this film will no doubt stumble across it while scrolling through Netflix. And if this is their first step into the teen movie sphere, then it is a perfectly fine place to begin and they will get something out of it.
Will English-speaking teens watch the movie? That’s another question entirely, but I hope they do and I’m confident many will.
Although this a Brazilian movie with subtitles (dubbing is available), bar a few musical cues, everything else in the film translates well irrespective of the language barrier. All of the content is relatable, understandable, and very modern.
Confessions of an Invisible Girl is not the sort of movie I would personally rush out to stream and had I not been reviewing the film, then it’s unlikely I would have added it to my watch list. But this really is just an age thing – this a good movie which hits all the right notes.
The film benefits from a likeable cast, good direction, and a general sense of fun. I expect those that check it out, and who are into Brazilian teen comedies, will find it meets their requirements.