Directed by Dani de la Torre, Live is Life is a Spanish coming-of-age drama about a group of friends who spend one last summer together. The film stars Adrián Baena, Juan del Pozo, Raúl del Pozo, David Rodríguez, and Javier Casellas, and is available to stream on Netflix from today.
In the movie it is 1985 and teenage boy, Rodri, sets off on vacation with his family. The destination is his grandparent’s home, where he has spent many summers previously and has made a collection of friends in Álvaro, Garriga, Maza, and Suso.
Since they last saw each other, things have not been good for a couple of the friends. Suso’s father has had an accident and is on life support in hospital, while Álvaro is battling cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
Aware that life is beginning to change quite rapidly, but keen to maintain their more carefree existence a little longer, the group decide to enjoy a couple of days of fun. They take to their bicycles, hit the open road, and embark on one final adventure.
Their goal is to seek out a flower which they are told has medicinal/magical properties. They believe the flower could help improve the health of Suso’s father, and they won’t give up on their quest until they’ve found it.
Along the way they play football, swim under waterfalls, and get in trouble with a local gang. They also share some unforgettable moments and have some of the best times of their lives.
*Looks off to the distance, while reminiscing about the past*
Think back to when you were younger; and think back to the long hot summer that you can just about picture in your mind’s eye. It was a time when the sun was forever shining, where no one expected anything of you, and when days with your best friends seemed endless and joyful.
Ask most people of a certain age (i.e. anyone over 30) and they will tell you it was the greatest time ever. If they could go back to those more carefree days when they were a kid, they would, and they’d do it in a heartbeat.
But unfortunately, time machines don’t exist, and there is no physical way to go back to the days of yesteryear. However, thanks to a movie like Live is Life, it is possible to be transported back to the past through the magic of cinema.
And if you’re looking for a way to return to days gone by, where everything was simpler (and beige) then Live is Life can certainly accommodate your needs. The good news is, it’ll keep you entertained for a good couple of hours, and you’ll enjoy the virtual trip back in time too!
Similar in tone and style to such films as Stand By Me (1986) and The Sandlot (1993), Live is Life is an engrossing, nostalgia-inducing, boys’ adventure picture. It is a movie which harks back to the past to tell its story, and focuses its attention on the bond between five friends who are beginning to move away from childhood.
Throughout the course of the film, they learn new things about each other, they react to new experiences, and they grow and develop as people. They also showcase what it is like to be a kid on the cusp of adulthood (both the good and the bad), and they take the audience on an unforgettable adventure.
Live is Life is very much a coming-of-age tale and a celebration of youth. It is also a story of hope and determination, and as someone who wishes he could return to the past, and more specifically to those pre-adult years, I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable.
While watching Live is Life, I laughed, I felt emotional, and for the most part, I spent some time reminiscing. I loved every moment of the film, and found it to be engaging, captivating, and a sheer delight to watch.
The young cast are all perfect in their roles, the film is well-written, it is beautifully shot, and the soundtrack is great. The whole thing comes together in just the right way, to offer a pure shot of nostalgia, while at the same time it tells an important story.
If you love films about those long-gone summer days, you have a thing for coming-of-age films, or you simply want another excuse to return to the 1980s, then I recommend Live is Life. The movie is sure to whisk you away to another time and place, and it will take you on a journey that feels real and very familiar.