TIFF 2018 Review: “Too Late to Die Young” (2018) ★★★


For the younger generation it is always important to realize that life is not going to be fruitful all the time. It will have its up and downs. They will fall in love, have their first kisses, hearts will be broken and have tons of other disappointments which will lead to that sad realization. But going through that harsh life experience, it’s necessary to understand that no matter what, life is not that bad as long as the most crucial age passes so that adulthood can take care of everything else.

“Too Late to Die Young” is set in Chile’s 90s when democracy just came back on the streets. Sofia (16), Lucas (16) and Clara (10) are in that phase of life where they must make very tough decisions as they learn the ugly taste of fear, disappointment, first love and what may come after that. Even though they are way too far from the city, the beauty of nature, where they are getting ready for New Year’s Eve, will play its part to bring them closer to the true meaning of life.

Written and directed by Dominga Sotomayor Castillo, “Too Late to Die Young” is a very naturalistic tale about love, life, and of course, a coming of age story of three different people who are learning their way of living life. Clara, for instance, tries to find her dog, Frida, who, unlike human beings, knows how to escape chaos. Sofia, who’s 16, is yet to get into her own chaos, and unlike Frida, a dog, is getting towards it. Lucas is in love, but can’t express his own feelings and tries to manage it within himself. But at some point he will also have to say or do what’s necessary, at least for himself, to not let the new feelings disappoint him.

All of them are pretty interesting to watch in such a real and uncompromised drama that mainly unfolds in a remote area and with a large group of people who play their roles in Clara’s, Sofia’s and Lucas’ life. That’s what makes Castillo’s film so important, intriguing and natural. But more importantly, it’s a deeply moving slow-paced drama that the viewer must be prepared for, as it has its own plans and its own structure to follow, where we as spectators must follow it with great care and patience to be rewarded in the end.

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