Too Late To Die Young (Dominga Sotomayor, 2018)


What’s this all about?

Growing up is painful, but even more when your dog gets lost, your crush is dating an older man and you can’t stand living in a community of hippies.


The best thing about movies is when they transport to worlds so exceptional and unique you don’t want to leave the theatre once the screening is over. Chilean director Dominga Sotomayor doesn’t actually take us to a future where androids and flying cars abound or to a magical universe where wizards and dragons coexist. No, Dominga Sotomayor takes us to a much more worldly environment — her childhood home.

Too Late to Die Young is a slice-of-life drama that takes place in a Chilean commune during the 90s, immediately after the end of Pinochet’s military dictatorship. It is semi-based on Sotomayor’s childhood where the writer-director divides her life experiences in the community into three different characters — Sofía, Lucas & Clara — and the way they struggle to mature in a village with no electricity or even a solid structure.

Dominga Sotomayor doesn’t necessarily condemn this way of life but never romanticises it either. Even though there are camaraderie and tolerance within this commune, most of its members, but especially the kids, are dissatisfied and apathetic, and some of them show clear signs of depression. Sotomayor’s open-minded approach helps her to create, in this nostalgic, low-key drama, a sense of community so vivid you might consider joining one.

Erika Karata + Masahiro Higashide - Asako I & II

Spoiler Area

None of the youths die even though the title might imply something different. This quiet drama didn’t need a tragedy, and only a mediocre director would’ve ended it that way.

The Moment

Frida, the gigantic dog, running in slow motion. A hypnotic image and a great way to start and end a movie

Recommended for

Whoever is thinking about moving to a commune and would like to hear about its pros and cons.

Some Other Stray Observations

  • When I grow up I wanna play the drums like that kid.

Erika Karata - Asako I & II

Good companion pieces

Both The Commune (2016), by Thomas Vinterberg and Together (2000), by Lukas Moodyson show as well what it means to live in a commune. The first movie is awful with annoying characters; the second choice is a delight.

MVP (cast)

Magdalena Tótoro is way too young to portray melancholy with such conviction.

MVP (crew)

Inti Briones’s subdued cinematography rightfully immerses the audience into another era.


Why am I watching this?

  • Best Director Award at the Locarno International Film Festival

  • Competing at London Film Festival. 

Art of the Title

Had I not been so shy, I would have liked to ask Sotomayor, during the Q&A, if the title comes from a lyrics or a quote from novel, because it’s too bleak for a movie that doesn’t even deal with death.

For Your Consideration

Best Movie - Best Director: Dominga Sotomayor - Best Supporting Actress & Child Performance: Magdalena Tótoro - Best Cinematography: Inti Briones - Best Ensemble Cast


Too Late To Die Young

Original Title: Tarde Para Morir Joven

Directed by Dominga Sotomayor | 2018 | Chile, Argentina

Main cast: Demian Hernández, Antar Machado, Magdalena Tótoro, Matías Oviedo, Andrés Aliaga, Antonia Zegers, Alejandro Goic, Eyal Meyer, Mercedes Mujica, Gabriel Cañas, Michael Silva

Rating: 8.0