Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
Original Title: Tarde Para Morir Joven
Chile/Brazil/Argentina/Netherlands/Qatar, 2018. Cinestación, RT Features, Ruda Cine, Circe Films. Screenplay by Dominga Sotomayor Castillo. Cinematography by Inti Briones. Produced by Dominga Sotomayor Castillo, Rodrigo Teixeira. Production Design by Estefania Larrain. Costume Design by Felipe Criado, Estefania Larrain. Film Editing by Catalina Marín Duarte. Toronto International Film Festival 2018.
With the fall of the Pinochet regime very recently behind them, a group of Chilean artists leave the big city with their families and form their own commune in an idyllic rural setting. Among them is Sofia, a young woman on the brink of adulthood who is, of course, rebelling against all this newfound freedom, smoking against her father’s wishes, fixating on the wrong man and planning her escape. Her single father can’t connect with her, and she believes she’d be better off with her mother in the city; the community is planning a big party in a few days and her mother has promised to come, and Sophia tells her dad that when she does she’ll leave with her. Coming of age tales are never tiresome when they’re done well, and the idea of something as commonly relatable as adolescent angst occurring in a setting so unfamiliar with most viewers is a wonderful idea, but director Dominga Sotomayor doesn’t seem to have much to offer beyond cliches of the genre. The time spent observing the characters in moments outside the main narrative drive aren’t particularly compelling, particularly a subplot involving a lost dog whose presence as symbolism is poorly excused. The main character is not sympathetic but neither are most teenagers, so it’s much more of a problem that Sofia is neither interesting nor intelligent (either practically or instinctively), and it ruins a film whose setting is otherwise convincing and whose remaining characters are all three-dimensional and detailed.