Milez Das’s review published on Letterboxd:
Clara lives in Aquarius apartment building, where every other flat has been vacated out. Clara is refusing a buy out from the developers who wants to demolish this building and build a new one instead. As the story proceeds Diego the developer starts to slowly initiate some actions and getting reactions from Clara.
On the paper the movie is a simple tale of a woman who is trying to take a stand against the developers who just their humanity comes through money. There is a point of privilege in their aura, a strong hold. There is also a conversation between Clara and Diego where he says to her how she might have had to struggle to get to the point she is now, and that moment I understood there is more to this movie that the standard banter.
There is a conversation to look at between Clara and her friend from media, who says to her how Diego is a member of the family, even the girl who interviewed her at the start of the movie is his niece. That it is just a string that has been lengthening itself. As Clara asks, Is there anything she can do legally? And the answer is No. Because everything has been bribed and owned by the construction company. Even though we know there is a harassment going on, it is not a direct one and not with a proof.
Even the children of Clara tell her, especially her daughter tries to tell her the situation she is in. But Clara doesn't give in. It is her and her husbands legacy, her children's memories. A part of her soul, her struggle.
After finishing the movie I kinda imagined its American remake in reality. Trump trying to obtain the building, but as he is a big shot he sends his son Trump Jr. to negotiate.
I know we are all head over heels with Isabelle Huppert currently but take your time and watch the incredible performance from Sônia Braga. She is sensational as Clara. The way she handles every situation, trying to be calm when her character should have just put the nearby wood in Diego's head.
Kleber Mendonça Filho tries to show a part of Brazil and the situation there. The riches trying to own every land there is, dividing it in parts, constructing buildings. Even the length they go to acquire the building Clara is living currently. I mean I was shocked by seeing the ending of this movie.
Aquarius is something you need a background about. It may look like a simple and useless fight at points, but it really is a stand and firm one.