Airplane Mode – review (Netflix)

Ana (Larissa Manoela) is a highly popular social media influencer. Obsessed with her popularity, she checks her phone and post responses to the detriment of everything else in her life. The only daughter of Laura (Silvia Lourenço) and Inācio (Michel Bercovitch), Ana’s soaring popularity gets her a job at a clothing company, True Fashion.

Her manipulative boss, Carola (Katiuscia Canoro), has her get together with another, less popular, social influencer, Gil (Eike Duarte), in the hopes of boosting the company’s profile. She is expecting Ana in the office for a meeting but Ana is running late due to having an accident in her car whilst focusing on her phone.

Even though Ana is pretty vacuous, she believes that she is in love with Gil after them being together for a month. When she gets to work, Carola tells her that she and Gil should move in together. Ana is not sure but says she will think about it. She leaves the office and goes to see her best friend and fellow social influencer, Mara (Amanda Orestes). On the way to seeing Mara, Ana has another car accident. She tells Mara about Gil and the idea of them moving in together.

Later, in the evening, Ana’s parents try to lay down the law with regards to her dangerous driving. She refuses to listen to them and goes to see Gil for dinner. Unbeknown to her, Carola has a plan to increase both of their profiles and has Gil break up with her whilst they are live streaming. Carola makes sure her assistant, Fausto (Phelly X Moura), records it all.

An angry Ana calls Carola. Carola is over the moon with the response. Ana, focused on her phone once again, has another accident. She ends up in the hospital. Whilst in hospital, her mother comes up with a plan to stop her using her phone. She tells her that she has been ordered by the court not to use her phone. She employs an actor to pretend to be a court official to tell her she cannot use her phone.

She will have to stay with her grandfather, Germano (Erasmo Carlos). In her grandfather’s town, Ana is desperate to get hold of a mobile phone and tries to persuade a young girl, Julia (Nayobe Nzainab) to lend her her phone. As she tries to wrestle the phone from Julia, she is stopped by the girl’s older brother, Joäo (André Luiz Frambach). She tells him that she is looking for her grandfather’s house. Joäo knows him and persuades his other sister, Rebeca (Mariana Amâncio), to take her to the address.

Germano is initially gruff to the phone loving city girl Ana, forcing her to help him restore an old car but as she helps him, the two warm to one another. Germano tells Ana about her late grandmother, saying that she reminds him of her. He shows her his wife’s old wardrobe. The wardrobe inspires Ana to design her own collection of clothing.

Ana also finds romance with Joäo and begins to relax away from the city. Her father and grandfather are estranged because when the wife was dying Inācio felt that he never allowed her to seek the best possible treatment. Ana finds letters explaining the situation and the parents come to see her and Germano. Carola, who had been searching for Ana, is alerted to her whereabouts when Julia post a picture of her and Joao kissing to social media.

Carola comes to the small town to see Ana. Ana tells her she does not want to come back to the company and is going to try and strike out on her own. She shows Carola her designs. Carola, not happy with Ana’s decision, steals her designs.

That weekend, with the car restored, they plan to go to the towns fair. Whilst at the fair, Ana, with her phone now returned to her, decides to take a photo of her and Joäo. She sees a picture of the man who was supposedly a court official in the background of the picture and realises that her parents duped her. She leaves the town and heads back to the city.

Due to her contract with True fashion, Ana is unable to work with any other fashion house and ends up designing clothing for dogs. Joāo, who she found out also know she was being duped, is desperately trying to contact her. He is having no joy. He sees her designs on a billboard and raises that True Fashion’s Carola has stolen them. He sends Ana a picture.

Joäo, Laura, Inācio and Germano come to the aid of Ana and expose Carola for stealing the designs. Joäo and Ana get back together. The end.

From a story by Alberto Bremer and Johnathan Davis, with the script by Bremer and Alice Name Bomtempo, Airplane ModeModo Aviāo – original Brazilian title – is a pleasant rom-com directed by César Rodrigues.

Following the ever-popular modern story of a social media influencer being too attached to their phones and popularity, Airplane Mode, a title that has proved strangely popular in the past few years with three films having the same title in the past four years, does not seem at all promising from the outset.

The obsessive social media influencer is already becoming a worn-out stereotype which makes it hard to warm to Manoela’s Ana and Canoro’s Carola is a bit of a pantomime villain making the first half an hour of the film a chore to watch. Thankfully, once Ana suffers her accident and is banished to her grandfather’s, the film gets much better and finds its heart.

Carlos’ Germano is taciturn and gruff initially but shows his paternal side quite quickly. The interactions between Carlos and Manoela are believable and the scenes between them, especially when talking about the grandmother/wife, are great.

Frambach’s Joāo is attractive enough without being distractingly so, giving off the aura of a nice guy which works perfectly for this film. At ninety-six minutes long, Airplane Mode, after the ropey opening, bumps along nicely and has you rooting for the romance between Ana and Joāo.

Rodrigues’ directing is competent without being amazing. Larissa Manoela is perfect as the like-hungry Ana, giving a totally believable performance.

Airplane Mode is a nice enough film even though the beginning and the end are not as good as they could have been. All in all, Airplane Mode is an enjoyable film and pleasant enough to waste an hour and a half on.

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