It's hard to not like this movie. It's colorful and cheerful and has plenty of likable characters in it, despite of the movie not being made in the best way imaginable.
It's actually quite odd. This is a movie set in Brazil and entirely spoken in Portugese as well but the movie is however made by French people behind the camera's and with French money. It's also the reason why the Oscar for best foreign picture went to France instead of Brazil, when this movie won in its category.
But don't worry, this movie is still very much Brazilian. It actually uses lots of cultural aspects and settings within its story, which is the foremost reason why the movie also works out original and pleasant. The Brazilian carnival plays a large part within the movie its story, so you can expect lots of dancing, cheerful people and bright colors. All reasons why this movie simply had to be done in color. All of the Rio de Janeiro backdrops also work out beautifully for the movie because of that.
The movie manages to build up a real pleasant atmosphere because of all of that. You would really like to be a part of that world while watching the movie and hang out with some of the movie its likable characters.
But the story in itself is still also a serious one. After all, it is a love-story, based on an ancient myth and like most of these stories go, they have plenty of dark elements and themes to them and also don't necessarily end well.
This obviously wasn't a very expensive movie to make, which still can mostly be seen back in its acting. Most of the cast-members obviously didn't had any experience, which was quite distracting at first but as the movie moved along it became less and less noticeable.
The story doesn't always connect. The difference between the first and the second half of the movie, especially the last 20 minutes or so, are too different from each other. I understand that the movie at first really wanted to be cheerful and uplifting, in order for the darker and more emotional second half of the movie to hit harder but the transition just doesn't feel that very natural and besides caused the movie to drag after a while.
But despite these complaints, this movie remains a very good and likable one!