‘The Girl Who Killed Her Parents’ is a Brazilian crime thriller based on the gruesome murders of Manfred Albert von Richthofen and Marisio von Richthofen, which were executed by the couple’s own daughter Suzanne in conjunction with her boyfriend Daniel Cravinhos and his brother Christian. The movie has a running time of 80 minutes and is directed by Mauricio Eca from a script by Ilana Casoy and Raphael Montes. Carla Diaz leads the cast, which also includes Leonardo Bittencourt and Augusto Madeira, among many others.
Even though ‘The Girl Who Killed Her Parents’ is based on actual life events and the movie puts into consideration a lot of aspects from what actually happened in a case that shook the whole of Brazil, it is not a documentary. It is more like the Jennifer Pan incident in Canada. The opening scene goes back to the fateful night when the horrific events took place, veers off to the court trials, and then reverts to numerous flashbacks. This storytelling technique is used to give perspective and direction to viewers who are unfamiliar with the unfortunate incidence and shed some light on the various relationships involved and how they destroyed numerous lives and livelihoods.
Delving into the storyline, which involves two completely different families brought together by love, this feature lays bare the issues in society when it comes to associations amongst people from different classes. The Cravinhos are a pretty wealthy family, while the Richthofen’s are middle class. When the two families first meet, there are very noticeable reservations. Daniel’s parents are more accepting, while Suzane’s folks don’t feel the same way regarding the romance between the two youngsters. Apart from the few family bumps here and there, the two get along quite well.
Nothing is black and white in this title, as there are different perspectives to the story and what might have been the root catalyst to the heinous action. The story is told by ping-ponging between flashbacks and the trials, which gives the viewer an interesting look into a relationship every person watching knows will soon take the wrong turn.
A majority of this title is based on the boyfriend’s testimony. Whether it is an objective perspective or not, it clearly lays bare the toxicity that dwelled in Suzane’s household. Most people who aren’t in agreement with their immediate family would just move out once they attain legal age or simply seek emancipation instead of murdering their whole clan. However, as the story unfolds seamlessly, audiences wait with bated breath to finally learn what that pain that hammered the last nail into the coffin was. It dawns to viewers that this extremely condemned action was caused by a mixture of other things the daughter couldn’t stomach anymore. Sadly though, viewers never find exactly what these things are.
It’s a bit of a bummer, though, that audiences don’t get a chance to know Suzanne and learn what she went through. She murdered her parents; hence the plot would have benefited more by focusing more on her problems and the challenges and difficulties she went through in life. Killing one’s parents is no easy feat or a decision one comes up with out of the blue; hence this aspect would have created some connection between the audience and Suzane in an attempt to understand her more. Yes, much focus is put on her relationship with David. However, that doesn’t address the foundational problem that birthed the trial.
The soundtrack for this film is made of hard rock, and the way it was placed across the film isn’t appealing at all. Music is supposed to create and enhance the various moods in various scenes under different circumstances. It’s meant for magnifying the intensity; however, in ‘The Girl Who Killed Her Parents,’ the background music is too unnecessarily loud, which kind of becomes annoying and irritable at some point.
It’s confusing to say whether the performances were good or bad. Take the lead character Suzane played by Carla Diaz, for example. Her delivery makes Suzane’s character come across as a psychotic drug addict. The narrative doesn’t help in expounding on who or why she is the way she is either but rather showcases how she used her boyfriend and his brother.
Court proceedings, in reality, can be very excruciating and tedious, which films can spice up by adding the aspects of movie-making compared to real-life proceedings. However, the courthouse scenes in this thriller are equally dull. There are so many back and forths that become visually and mentally draining. There are also long durations where nothing notable happens. Looking at the loopholes and the lack of meat in the storyline, audiences are left with more questions than those answered. It would have maybe worked better if the filmmakers would have made the movie a documentary or simply made the court sections flow in a linear way.
There is no doubt that Carla Diaz is a great actress; however, that quality isn’t portrayed in this movie. This could majorly have the script and direction to blame as her performances feel forced. Some are significantly over the top while others feel pretty inadequate, and then there are those that are okay-ish. One can’t help to feel like a valuable talent went to waste in making this movie. If only the story had explained what demons hunt Suzane, then one would understand Diaz’s bipolar-like mode of acting in this film. Leonardo Bittencourt, on the other hand, as David was just fine, nothing award-worthy though.
‘The Girl Who Killed Her Parents’ is just an okay movie. It ends abruptly without warning leaving audiences on the cliffhanger. Considering the central theme of this movie, it would have been better to zoom in more into the individual lives of those involved instead of giving a recollection of their relationships. This might have left an intriguing effect on audiences. Otherwise, it is one of those titles that you watch once and forget they ever existed.
‘The Girl Who Killed Her Parents’ is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.