A young boy named Deivinho (Lucas) is part of a loving but struggling working class family in Brazil. Though he secretly dreams of becoming an astrophysicist, his caretaker dad Wellington (Francisco) has earthbound plans for him, wanting to make him a soccer star. Meanwhile, older sister Eunice (Damiao) wants to move out and explore her lesbian identity. Matriarch Tercia (Farja) is the family’s glue, but she has stressors of her own.
Director Martins’ second feature is a tender, perceptive family drama that sneaks up on you. Martins’ evocative portrayal of this family of four is expertly calibrated so we absorb all the family dynamics while also getting to know these characters as individuals. All four actors are astonishingly good, in particular young Lucas and the highly expressive Farja, playing a woman dealing with fears she can’t even name. Though “Mars One” shows the struggles and setbacks these people face, this uplifting film still projects hope. Is there life on “Mars”? You bet!