Earth motherhood has rarely looked earthier than in the placid smile of Regina Case, the popular Brazilian performer who stars in Me You Them. Case, with her sturdy, elemental body and shining eyes, is the reason phrases like ”inner beauty” were invented, and she’s also the reason this idealistic, naturalistic film by Rio de Janeiro-born Andrucha Waddington has been such a success at festivals around the world.
Case plays Darlene, a fertile peasant woman in the barren Brazilian Northeast who accrues husbands (she’s got three men) and makes babies (she’s mother to four boys) as easily as her neighbors bake bread. Her circumstances evolve not out of flightiness but out of a kind of serene flexibility that has nothing to do with right or wrong, shoulds or shouldn’ts; Darlene works hard, enjoys dancing, and shares love with such welcoming ease that all three husbands — a persnickety codger, a protective helpmate, and a strapping, sexy laborer — live with her under one roof, cooperating at no expense to their manliness.
Waddington was inspired by a TV report he saw about a woman who lived with three husbands under one roof for 10 years. His directorial inspiration is to tell what might seem merely a preciously high-concept story with a calmness that views unorthodox arrangements among humans as just one more lovely surprise on this always surprising earth. B+
Me You Them STARRING Regina Case Lima Duarte SONY PICTURES CLASSICS RATED PG-13 107 MINUTES