Zero (Wagner Moura) is a quirky, unhappy scientist who – while experimenting with a newfangled energy generator he designed – ends up transported 20 years into the past, back to a crucial night of his life where he comes face-to-face with his 19-year-old self and gets the chance to fix what went wrong and keep the girl he regrets having lost.
This sort of time-travel trope is as old as time – and not coincidentally, the film is rife with Back to the Future references – but instead of beating it to a cliché-filled pulp, director Cláudio Torres uses the sci-fi elements as a tool to develop the romantic comedy that the film really is.
The jokes are subtle and smart, never falling into the trying-too-hard-to-make-you-LOL or the slapstick sort of humour audiences often expect from Brazilian flicks.
The film’s other trumph is the love story at its core: the chemistry between the central couple is sweet and believable and the actors deliver the goods. Alinne Moraes’ character, the love interest, goes beyond hot-body/pretty-face and is utterly likable, even if she turns on the soap opera acting at times.
Leading man Moura’s performance only further establishes him as an actor with range and intensity: his nuanced portrayal of three different timeline versions of the same character deliver everything from bitter to sweet.
At the end of the day, this film is neither genre-bending or revolutionary, but it’s a smart, cute and well-done romantic flick that detractors of Brazilian cinema would do well to watch.