Simonal: Leonardo Domingues’ biopic is a little confusing on its storytelling (it’s too quick and heavy on the name-dropping, particularly early on; and, neither here nor there, but not too close to factual at some points), but it at least avoids the cliched trap of the artificial epiphanic moments that plague famous musician biopics. The film seems more interested in using the largest possible number of his songs, but considering the silky beauty of Simonal’s voice, that is far from a problem. Fabrício Boliveira is quite good as the title character, efficient in the large emotional range called for. Isis Valverde, however good she may look in the role, is stiff and unconvincing. The film has good production values, with well-done costume and production design (by Kika Lopes and Yurika Yamasaki respectively). The cinematography of Pablo Baião smartly uses soft-focus and tight framing to minimize the use of period elements. It needs to be said, however, that the best thing in this film is the bravura long take shot that opens the movie (and is echoed by another nearly as good later on): it’s not only technically and visually great, but it has the richest piece of storytelling in the whole film.