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“American’s Eye-Opening Journey: Uncovering Shocking Discoveries in His Portuguese Ancestry with ‘Amelia’s Children'”

“Gabriel Abrantes Ventures into Horror with Subtle Yet Impactful Approach in ‘Diamantino’ Co-Directed Film”

amelias children

“Continuing His Unique Style: Gabriel Abrantes’ ‘Amelia’s Children’ Offers a Whimsically Dark Twist on Horror, Following the Playful Tone Set by His Previous Work, ‘Diamantino'”

In contrast, “Amelia’s Children” delves into more conventional territory. Director Gabriel Abrantes once again enlists Carloto Cotta, this time portraying Edward, a contemplative American musician. The narrative unfolds as a DNA-testing service uncovers the biological family from which Edward was abducted as an infant. Accompanied by his devoted girlfriend, Ryley (played by Brigette Lundy-Paine), the couple journeys to Portugal to explore a locally infamous multi-million-dollar estate. There, they encounter Edward’s enigmatic, elderly mother, Amelia (portrayed by Anabela Moreira), and his mysterious twin brother, Manuel (also portrayed by Cotta, sporting an inscrutable smile).

Despite Carloto Cotta’s dual roles, the lead status soon shifts to Brigette Lundy-Paine, whose character’s unease becomes the lens through which we perceive Edward’s family. Initially supportive of Edward’s reunion with his family, Ryley grows increasingly wary as his family becomes more insular, clearly reluctant to let him leave Portugal. Lundy-Paine skillfully portrays her character’s patience wearing thin as the situation unfolds. Director Gabriel Abrantes orchestrates a series of meticulously crafted suspenseful sequences for Lundy-Paine to navigate, including intense nightmare sequences, playful jump scares, and the unsettling presence of a genuine movie monster in Amelia. Anabela Moreira, despite being in her 40s, convincingly portrays a much older character, navigating the physical challenges of portraying decades of questionable cosmetic surgeries and wear-and-tear. As Amelia, she embodies a haunting figure, shrouded in layers of prosthetics, making it challenging to discern her true feelings towards her fellow actors. Her portrayal evokes a sense of ambiguity—is she hostile, compassionate, or perhaps even aroused?

Abrantes revels in depicting the matriarch’s character in various scenes, but his inclination towards mischief ultimately undermines the film’s later developments. As Edward becomes increasingly distant from Ryley and both are ensnared by hallucinations, the narrative abruptly offers a straightforward explanation for the disturbing deeds that sustain the bloodline. While the revelation is not as shocking as it could be, it marks the end of the intrigue. Although Abrantes skillfully crafts a climactic showdown for survival, it unfolds predictably towards a predetermined outcome. As a result, the film loses its evocative edge.

Despite “Amelia’s Children” feeling more conventional by the end, Carloto Cotta’s mesmerizing performances provide a unique focal point. Just as he did in “Diamantino,” Cotta embodies a character who is both naive and emotionally scarred in Edward, portraying him as a charming but dimwitted individual. This portrayal contrasts with the one-dimensional attachment of his twin brother to their mother. Cotta’s facial expressions, characterized by puzzled, wide eyes, are perfect for the film’s comedic elements, and director Gabriel Abrantes delights in exploiting them. Watching Cotta’s character get manipulated adds an element of enjoyment to the film.

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