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Your New Brazilian Obsession: ‘Girls From Ipanema’

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Netflix’s Girls From Ipanema might just become your newest obsession. This show is perfect for you if you like travelling, learning about new places and languages, or even just looking at the beautiful scenery.

Girls From Ipanema is a Netflix Brazil original production from 2019. It already has two seasons out on the streaming platform, however, a third season hasn’t been confirmed yet. The show, set in the 1950s in the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro (a great place for you to visit!), delves into the rise of bossa nova music and female empowerment in 1959. 

The show is centred around the stories of four women, who later become really close friends. The first one we meet is Malu (Maria Casadevall), a young rich city girl who just moved from São Paulo to the beach city of Rio de Janeiro. Right after her move, Malu discovers her life is not really what she thought it was and is left pretty much abandoned in a new place. But after meeting and falling in love with not only Rio de Janeiro but also its music and a certain musician, Malu decides to work hard to get her life back together. 

Malu, then, starts a bossa nova club with the hardworking Adélia (Pathy de Jesus), where her new lover, Chico (Leandro Lima), can play. Adélia is a Black woman living in Brazil in the 1950s, so even more than Malu and her other friends, she encounters racism and sexism way too often. However, Adelia still works hard to support her sister and baby daughter. 

Regulars at the club, Adélia and Malu’s lives become intertwined with sisters-in-law Thereza (Mel Lisboa) and Lígia (Fernanda Vasconcellos), who also have some trouble in their lives. Lígia is an aspiring singer and close friend of Malu but is in an abusive and toxic marriage. Thereza, on the other hand, is a very open-minded journalist who is in an open relationship with her husband, who, shockingly, is the father of Adélia’s daughter. 

Together, all four of them try to manage their lives while trying to break through the barriers imposed by the patriarchy. The show ends up dealing with some awfully tough themes, and it illustrates the lives different women had to lead 70 years ago. 

Apart from the hard issues, Girls from Ipanema is also an outstanding homage to the Brazilian bossa nova. Music is a very important part of the show. Beautiful bossa nova tracks are present throughout the episodes and they work perfectly with the storylines. 

Fun fact, the show’s title is inspired by one of the most famous Brazilian songs, “Girl From Ipanema” (or Garota de Ipanema in Portuguese). It is a bossa nova jazz song by musician Antônio Carlos Jobim and poet Vinícius de Moraes. In English, “Girl from Ipanema” has also been recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1967. 

So, in the end, this show is all about the power of friendship and the challenges women have to face, amid some extraordinary Brazilian music. 

“Actually, we don’t realize how strong we are, until we have to be.”

Thereza from Girls from Ipanema
Mariana is second-year Journalism student from Brazil. She is quite obsessed with pop culture and loves to write about it. When she’s not studying she is probably watching some Netflix (and taking notes on whatever she’s watching).
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