Beyond beauty, beyond the pain
‘Most Beautiful Thing’ is all about freedom from pain, and of growing into an individual, who has a dream and the spirit to fight odds to realise it
"Most Beautiful Thing', a Netflix-produced web series is set in the 1950s Brazil when women's rights were still far from achieving.
And the series opens with sprightly music, vintage look and the beautiful beaches of Brazil setting the tone for the series about a woman, and her fight for independence and struggle for existence in a society that scorns at single women, and thinks business is for men.
Maria Luiza (Malu), rich, beautiful and smartly dressed in her knee length dress, a petite hat and lace gloves, her boxes in tow, waits at the airport with growing annoyance.
After much waiting she takes a taxi and reaches a not so great looking building and going forward realises that her husband Pablo, who is supposed to have opened a restaurant in Rio de Janeiro had run away with her money, and a mistress.
She is heartbroken, and at one point considers going back to her father's home where she kept her son to be looked after by her mother. She even considers killing herself.
Coming all the way from Sao Paulo, from a much-protected environment, she is led into the world of pain and deceit.
But instead of succumbing to the situation, she finally chooses to not go back to her father's house and forms an idea of starting a music club, a decision that was going to be scandalous in the society that was much conservative towards women.
She wants Coisa Mais Linda to be a hangout place for everyone who enjoys music and give a stage for all promising singers, and the just emerging Bossanova music, which she discovers in the neighbourhoods of Rio.
American jazz, samba rhythms and Portuguese lyrics are the life of Bossanova music, which is introduced to her by a promising musician Chico, who she asks to sing at her club, to whom she is attracted to.
She also befriends a black woman Adelia, who comes from the impoverished section of the society and is forced to work since being a child. She has a daughter to support and agrees to work with Maria to open the club.
The latter chooses to make Adelia, an equal partner, and together they work hard to turn the place that originally was supposed to have been a restaurant run by Pablo, into a warm and lively club.
Maria finds it difficult to get a license or a bank loan, her father threatens to disown her, but, eventually, the dream comes true and the duo manage to make the unthinkable possible. Coisa Mais Linda opens to boisterous crowd having a good time, enjoying the music and buying a lot of liquor.
On the sidelines are Malu's childhood best friend, Ligia, who trades her desire to be a singer to be a beautiful wife standing by her (abusive) husband with political aspirations, and the editor of a woman's magazine Thereza, who tries to transform the way women are portrayed in popular media of the time.
'Most Beautiful Thing' is a story of a women, who strive to find independence, of overcoming pain, fighting the stereotypes, of living life by their own terms, of friendships, of being mother – in short, as is mentioned in the beginning of the series – 'It is about the beauty that comes from the sorrow of being a woman'.
In addition, 'Most Beautiful Thing' made in Portuguese with English subtitles is a delightful representation of South America (Brazil), the people, music, the buildings, the diversity – a window to a whole new world. The amazing cast includes Maria Casadevall as Maria, Pathy Dejesus as Adelia, Fernanda Vasconcellos as Ligia and Mel Lisboa as Thereza.
Currently the first season of the series is available online. And speculations were rife if the series would continue into the second season. However, Netflix renewed the series to a second season.