CIFF Capsule Review: Too Late To Die Young

Much like Call Me By Your Name, with which this film shares a producer, Too Late To Die Young is a coming of age story about young people in a rural setting. Far from the hustle and bustle of Santiago, Chile, Sofia lives in a community in the mountains unencumbered by modern frivolities like running water and electricity. They’re a close-knit group, and the movie follows a short period of time from Christmas to New Year’s as the area battles wildfires and readies for the soon-to-be available electrical grid.

Sofia wants to leave this place and move in with her mother, a singer in the big city. Her father focuses his energy on fixing things around their home and not saying much of anything to anyone. She has a boy in her life, but it’s not serious. She’d rather be with Ignacio, who freely travels back and forth as he pleases.

Dominga Sotomayor Castillo gives us a brief glimpse of the lives led by people on the fringe in Chile with a camera that meanders on the beautiful nature the area offers. Music fills the air as the main source of entertainment in the community, including a New Year’s party where everyone has to sing a song-Sofia chooses an accordion-led version of The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame.”

The film does feel a bit slow at times, but it does accurately portray a way of life most city people wouldn’t last a day living. Sotomayor Castillo gets a good performance from her lead, Demian Hernandez. Characters come and go often, but we see enough to glean the kind of people that make up her life. We also see the sadness in her solidarity when she’s alone in her room.

Too Late To Die Young played earlier this week at the Chicago International Film Festival.