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The Second Mother (2015 film)

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The Second Mother (2015 film) movie poster

Release date
January 25, 2015 (2015-01-25) (Sundance)August 27, 2015 (2015-08-27) (Brazil)

Anna Muylaert, Regina Case

Fabiano Gullane, Caio Gullane, Debora Ivanov, Gabriel Lacerda

Regina Casé
Michel Joelsas
Camila Márdila
Karine Teles
(Bárbara), (Carlos),
Helena Albergaria

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The second mother official trailer 1 2015 drama movie hd

The Second Mother (Portuguese: Que Horas Ela Volta?, lit. When is she coming back?) is a 2015 Brazilian drama film written and directed by Anna Muylaert. The film stars Regina Casé as Val, the housemaid of a wealthy family in São Paulo, and portrays the tensions that arise after her daughter Jéssica moves into the family's house in order to apply for an admission exam at the University of São Paulo.


The Second Mother (2015 film) movie scenes

It premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was later released theatrically in Brazil on 27 August 2015. The film received critical praise in and outside Brazil and was selected as the Brazilian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards but it was not nominated.

The Second Mother (2015 film) movie scenes

The second mother official trailer 2015 regina case hd

Plot summary

The Second Mother (2015 film) movie scenes

Val, a woman from Pernambuco, moves to São Paulo to provide a better life for her daughter, Jéssica. In São Paulo, Val works as a live-in housemaid for an affluent family where she also takes care of the family's only child, Fabinho. Though Fabinho and Val have a close relationship it comes at the expense of her relationship with her daughter who continues to live in Pernambuco and harbours anger towards her mother for always being away.

The Second Mother (2015 film) movie scenes

When Jessica is nearing eighteen Val receives a call from her asking if she can stay with her briefly while she studies and takes the entrance exam to the University of São Paulo. Val, who lives in house with the family she cleans for, asks them for permission to let Jessica stay while she searches for an apartment for the two of them. Dona Barbara, the head of the house, grants her permission.

The Second Mother (2015 film) movie scenes

When Val goes to pick up Jessica from the bus depot there is immediate tension as Val hasn't seen Jessica in ten years and fails to recognize her daughter. Jessica also wants to go straight to Val's home without seeing her employers, and is shocked when she realizes that Val lives with her employers and expects her to stay in a cramped room with them.

When Jessica is finally presented to the family Don Carlos, Dona Barbara's husband, immediately seems intrigued by Jessica when he finds she is studying architecture and offers her a tour of the house. When Jessica notes that their guest suite is empty and she is a guest he agrees to let her stay there. Val and Dona Barbara grow increasingly upset that Jessica seems to have little regard for the unspoken class differences in the house, treating Don Carlos like a peer and eating lunch with Don Carlos. However things become uncomfortable for Jessica when Don Carlos, taking her on a tour of some architecturally interesting buildings hugs her and then begins kissing her neck. The moment is interrupted when Don Carlos receives news that his wife has been injured.

Back at the compound Val tries to explain to her daughter the rules of social engagement in the house warning her not to go in the pool. When Fabinho and his friend arrive they immediately ask her to come in the pool with them, but when she refuses they pull her in anyway. A furious Dona Barbara sees this and has the pool drained, claiming she saw a rat in the pool. Angered that her daughter is not listening to her Val goes to claim an apartment for Jessica and herself.

Though Jessica is eager to move out and wants to take the apartment they are unable to move out and must return to the house. As they return Don Carlos, who is still infatuated with Jessica, proposes to her and then plays it off as a joke when she is horrified. Barbara, still annoyed with Jessica tells her she can't stay in the guest room as Barbara's cousin is coming and then asks Val to promise her not to let Jessica on the other side of the kitchen during the rest of her stay in the house. When Jessica hears the news she is outraged and leaves Val's home to stay with a friend in the middle of the night, despite having entrance exams in the morning.

Fabinho goes to take the University of São Paulo entrance exam. He fails by two points and Val comforts him. Shortly after she receives a call from Jessica telling her that not only did she pass but she got a very high score. Though Dona Barbara offers congratulations she is obviously upset that Jessica passed.

Val obtains an apartment for Jessica and herself. She and Jessica fight however when Jessica tells her that she was a terrible mother and she spent most of her childhood wondering where she was and asking when she was coming back, believing that she was living a glamorous life elsewhere. Val counters that she made extreme sacrifices for her daughter and that she suspects that Jessica is making a similar sacrifice. She shows Jessica a picture she found in one of her textbooks and asks who the little boy in the picture is. Jessica reveals it is her son, Jorge.

Returning to her employers Val learns that Fabinho plans to take a gap year and go to Australia. After he leaves she goes to Barbara and tells her she needs to quit and though Barbara offers her a raise Val tells her she needs to finally take care of her daughter.

Moving to their shared apartment with the rest of her things Val tells Jessica she is there to stay for good and asks her to bring her grandson to live with them so she can take care of him as Jessica studies.


  • Regina Casé as Val
  • Michel Joelsas as Fabinho
  • Camila Márdila as Jéssica
  • Karine Teles as Barbara
  • Lourenço Mutarelli as José Carlos
  • Helena Albergaria as Edna
  • Luci Pereira as Raimunda
  • Production

    Muylaert originally envisioned it before the release of her first feature film, Durval Discos (2002), but she felt she was not capable of directing it at the time. Originally titled A Porta da Cozinha ("The Kitchen's Door"), it was based on Muylaert's own experience with a nanny, who took care of Muylaert's son after leaving her own daughter. The screenplay was rewritten four times by her and Casé since its original conception because Muylaert felt it was "immature". Casé had an important role as she knew closely the reality of several Northeastern women who went to São Paulo to find a job, and Muylaert wanted to not create a caricature of the central character. She said she wrote the story because taking care of other people's children is "sacred work that is very underrated." The film took nine months to make.

    The main filming location of The Second Mother, shot in February 2014, was a mansion on Morumbi, an affluent neighborhood of São Paulo.


    The Second Mother premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, in which Casé and Camila Márdila shared the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting. Its European premiere took place in the Panorama section of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Panorama Audience Award. On 15 December 2014 The Match Factory acquired international rights to the film.

    Box office

    The film has grossed R$5.4 million at the Brazilian box office.

    Critical reception

    The Second Mother has received critical acclaim. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 95% approval rating based on 66 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Second Mother's compelling characters serve an artfully drawn, thought-provoking story that's beautifully brought to life by a talented cast." On, Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 82/100 based on 26 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".


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