Title Card - Carnaval (2021)

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Despite seeming like a generic party film/ girls trip, there is more to Carnaval than meets the eye.

Director(s) Leandro Neri
Screenplay By Audemir Leuzinger, Leandro Neri, Luisa Mascarenhas
Where Can You Watch? Netflix
Date Released 6/2/2021
Genre(s) Comedy, Romance, Young Adult, LGBT, Non-English, Musical
Duration 1 Hour 35 Minutes
Rating TV-MA
Noted Cast
Nina Giovana Cordeiro
Luana Flavia Pavanelli
Freddy Nunes Micael Borges
Vivi Samya Pascotto
Mayra Bruna Inocencio
Michelle Gkay
Salvador Jean Pedro

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Film Summary

Nina, a full-time social influencer, dreams of hitting 1 Million followers to expand her brand and be like the popular influencer Luana who has 10 million! However, with a little over 300,000 followers, Nina isn’t doing that bad compared to many. But, thanks to her boyfriend cheating on her and her reaction becoming a meme, it seemed like she may have hit a glass ceiling.

That is until music star Freddy Nunes invites Nina, and her friends, Vivi, Mayra, and Michelle, to Salvador, Brazil, for Carnival! There Nina works hard to increase her follower count, but with not being at the level of the also invited Luana, it’s a bit of a struggle at first. But, as she finds herself getting closer to Freddy, so comes her beginning to choose her influencer career over her friends, and that causing a rift in the group.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: Drinking, Light Sexual Innuendo
  • Jump Scares/ Laughs/ Tear-Jerking Moments: The ending will get you a little teary-eyed.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Fear is like faith but backwards.
— Mini-Mayra

Review/ Commentary


Including Salvador’s Culture

Salvador (Jean Pedro), who assist Freddy when it comes to the influencers
Salvador (Jean Pedro), who assist Freddy when it comes to the influencers

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises that comes from Carnaval is that it isn’t just a party movie featuring a handful of young women drinking, going to clubs, fighting over something small, and then reconciling. Laced throughout, we actually get to see bits of Salvador’s culture – the one tourist may not see. But what specifically impressed us was the focus on those who have darker skin.

For example, you get to see a capoeira performance, traditional religious ceremonies, and even see some of the local cuisines. This does force us to admit there is only one dark-skinned character with a consistent speaking role and presence, Salvador, but he does force viewers to be reminded that Brazil, and other South American countries, do have a culture filled with people who have African origins. It isn’t just those who look like Nina and lighter.

How It Handles The Friendship Drama

While Carnaval does present archetypes for the friend group, with Viv being the nerdy one, Michelle the promiscuous one, Mayra the quiet one, and Nina the popular one, as a group, they all blend in together and find a nice middle ground. But, to add on some layers, Nina and Mayra have been friends since they were children, and it seems Mayra has some form of social anxiety that Nina helps her with. Michelle keeps Nina grounded and reminds her there is more to life than social media and Viv? Well, she can be seen as the source of reminding everyone when they are superficial, and often, if the group splits, she makes sure no one is alone.

Michelle (Gkay), Vivi (Samya Pascotto) and Mayra (Bruna Inocencio) learning about the trip Nina has planned
Michelle (Gkay), Vivi (Samya Pascotto) and Mayra (Bruna Inocencio) learning about the trip Nina has planned

Now, does Carnaval equally develop all relationships? Admittedly not. However, to compensate, when the drama begins, it makes sense and doesn’t become over the top. You get why certain characters create friction, especially Nina, since she gets torn between her career goals and her friends. But rather than take us to a place of no return, you get genuine screw-ups that deserve the forgiveness you know is inevitable.

And then, when it comes to those who aren’t forgiven, you still see a path towards redemption. It is just it likely will take longer than the time allotment the movie gives.

On The Fence

The Romances & Comedy

Most of the romances are very shallow, and even when it comes to what Salvador and Nina have, there is still the excitement of this cute guy from a foreign area involved, vs. loving his faults, his dreams, and things of that nature. So don’t necessarily expect to swoon when it comes to any of the matchings.

Then, when it comes to the comedy? It’s mostly, if not all, corny. Michelle is probably the worst since her jokes are cheap sex jokes or pretending she needs to be held back from fighting someone.


Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Nina (Giovana Cordeiro) convincing Mayra to come onto the trip
Nina (Giovana Cordeiro) convincing Mayra to come onto the trip

I do wish the friendship between Mayra and Nina wasn’t the sole developed relationship in Carnaval and that the comedy and relationships had more thought. But, overwhelmingly, getting to see Salvador beyond how you may have thought this film would have presented it was a treat. And while, yes, the film may not completely escape expectations, it certainly delivers something better than the majority of its peers would.

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Title Card - Carnaval (2021)
Carnaval (2021) – Review/Summary (with Spoilers)
Who Is This For?
Those who like a simple movie featuring girls partying, having their little spats, but also going on an adventure that shows them in a foreign place and learning a bit about the local culture.
Including Salvador’s Culture
How It Handles The Friendship Drama
Low Points/ On The Fence
The Romances & Comedy

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