Living is Easy (With Eyes Closed)…a movie review from Roz Tarszisz

October 13, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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There is something satisfying in the conventions of a good road movie.

Disparate people find themselves travelling together to fulfil a quest. Whilst getting there is most of the fun, there are vehicular difficulties, wayward personalities and revelations and this charming comedy by writer/ director David Trueba is no exception.

Inspired by true events, the story is set in 1966 Franco-era Spain. According to music history legend, John Lennon composed Strawberry Fields Forever while filming (How I Won the War) on location in Almeria, Southern Spain.

Antonio (Javier Camara), a dedicated school teacher and obsessive Beatles fan, uses lyrics from their song Help to teach English. He learns that John Lennon is on a film set and sets out in his little Fiat to find the production’s location and meet Lennon. He wants to understand lyrics on newly released Revolver LP.

He picks up Belen (Natalia de Molina), an unmarried and pregnant 20-year-old who has escaped from the convent where she had been sent to spend her pregnancy. They take on another runaway, Juango, a 16-year-old boy, (Francesc Colomer), and the unlikely trio set off across wild and beautiful countryside for Almeria, ending up at a basic hotel and cafe near the film site.

Antonio is a dynamic teacher and something of a naive nebbish but has an observant eye and a big, warm heart. Belen is sweet and lovely with a touch of sophistication and although Juango is infused with teenage gawkiness, he also has charm. By the end, as is often the case in this genre, the youngsters have gained insights and matured as they help Antonio attain his heart’s desire and find more belief in himself.

Scenes at the cafe with its owner and his young wheelchair-bound son give the story depth and these cameos are finely played. The original score by Pat Metheny perfectly represents the era.

The movie has won six awards at the 2014 Spanish Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor and has been proposed for the next Academy Awards. It’s a satisfying and heart warming tale that will keep you smiling. Don’t leave before the entire credits have rolled.

3.5 out of 5

108 minutes 2013

Starring Javier Camara, Natalia De Molina, Francesc Colomer

Written and Directed by David Trueba

National release from 23 October 2014

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