TIFF review: Too Late To Die Young

Dominga Sotomayor's coming-of-age drama is understated and pleasantly meandering

TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG DISC D: Dominga Sotomayor. Chile/Brazil/Argentina/Netherlands/Qatar. 110 min. Sep 12, 7:30 pm, Scotiabank 13 Sep 14, noon, AGO Sep 16, 8:15 pm, TBLB 4. See listing. Rating: NNNN

With its sun-faded images of kids roaming through trees, clutter and semi-completed forest dwellings, Sotomayor’s third feature retains a playful rambunctiousness even as it traverses fraught emotional terrain.

Set in 1990, with Chile emerging from 17 years of dictatorship, the film tracks a coming-of-age for both its adolescent heroine and her country. It follows a group of urban families constructing a self-sufficient, back-to-the-land community at the foot of the Andes.

But for Sofia, a 16-year-old given to self-harm, the scenario is far from idyllic. She dreams of reconnecting with her musician mother, returning to the city, falling in love and embarking on her own musical career. The scene where she performs a rendition of the Bangles’ Eternal Flame is extremely sweet, particularly because Sotomayor exercises a consistently light touch, opting for understatement and a pleasantly meandering narrative rather than high drama and steely focus. 

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