Man Proposes, God Disposes forced me to leave behind the precedence that big blockbuster films have left in my mind. While they are good, I needed to appreciate this in a different way. Daniel Leo gives us a story that we think we’ve seen before, but with a twist. Man Proposes, God Disposes follows a story of an unplanned pregnancy and an intercontinental love story between Karol (Mateusz Nedza) and Bruna (Bruna Massarelli).
Karol and Bruna couldn’t be any more different, and I appreciate that those differences are embraced on screen rather than just shoved into a quickly solved love story. The situation is messy. A one night stand turned unplanned pregnancy with someone who lives in an entirely different continent than you isn’t an easy situation to deal with. But they do their best. Karol, despite his childish tendencies, steps up to the responsibility of being a father and Bruna, hard strung as she is, learns to make compromises for the benefit of their child.
With the dialogue being choppy at times, the actors still knocked their performances out of the park because quite honestly, the fact that the dialogue is rough at times makes the film feel that more realistic. It immerses you in the mindset of being in a foreign situation is a foreign space, just like Karol is. However, the dialogue isn’t even the most important part of the film. Sure, it initially helps us understand what is going on in terms of plot, however the majority of the storytelling is non-verbal which really is a testament to Daniel Leo’s ability as a storyteller. The last parts of the film are almost completely non-verbal, and I’d argue that they are the most intense and emotionally powerful scenes of the entire movie.
While the film as a whole is great, where its true strength lies in its visuals. Director Daniel Leo’s love for photography is evident in the form of his cinematography. Leo has an eye for beauty, both conventical and unconventional. With the film being set across areas of both Poland and Brazil, Leo is able to draw attention to what makes each place unique and really shows us how the differences in the worlds our main characters come from ultimately mesh and become one. Poland’s cold and dusky atmosphere is contradicted by Brazil’s warm and flourishing one.
However, the characters embody personality traits opposite of their own physical territory: Karol being portrayed as goofy and warm and Bruna, as a more straight-edged and cool, a rather nice juxtaposition. On top of the beautiful shots of the cities, Leo also uses his artistic eye to frame his characters in unique ways to further the story.
One in particular that comes to mind is when Karol first comes to Brazil and is knocking, about to enter Bruna’s apartment for the first time, the only way in which we see Karol is through the reflection in the door number, distorting Karol’s face and turning him every which way, a reflection of how his life is at this moment.
Overall, I really enjoyed the way Man Proposes, God Disposes shifted from the popular movie structure and made me look at things from a different perspective. If you’re looking for quick film that’s easily digestible, this isn’t the film for you. But I highly recommend you give it a try because as his directorial debut, Daniel Leo did a phenomenal job in showing us his artistic ability through this film and it can only go up from here.
Rating – 7/10