Too Late to Die Young

Dominga Sotomayor's semi-autobiographical Too Late to Die Young follows a 16-year-old who's beginning a new life with her family at a secluded commune

Film Review by Patrick Gamble | 14 May 2019
  • Too Late to Die Young
Film title: Too Late to Die Young
Director: Dominga Sotomayor Castillo
Starring: Demian Hernández, Antar Machado, Magdalena Tótoro
Release date: 24 May
Certificate: 15

Dominga Sotomayor’s coming-of-age drama Too Late to Die Young is perhaps best read as an allegory for a nation emerging from 17 years of political isolation. Set during the summer of 1990, as Chile was waking up to a new and uncertain future, the film follows 16-year-old Sofía (Hernández) and her family as they start a new life in a secluded commune in the foothills of the Andes.

Although characters never speak directly about the end of General Pinochet’s dictatorship, the film remains incredibly sensitive to the weight of political upheaval happening outside the frame. Loosely inspired by her own upbringing, Sotomayor’s tactile feel for this way of life conjures a richly realised world that is nonetheless subject to adolescent idealism. Scenes of teenage heartbreak and familial dysfunction are shot through a haze of nostalgia with the narrative infused with memories of more optimistic times. The effect is compulsive, and deceptively dramatic, with Sotomayor mirroring Chile’s attempts to reassemble its democracy with the confusion and insecurities that adolescence brings.

Released 24 May by Day For Night; certificate 15