A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Coming-of-age movie uses structure of "hero's journey" to explore importance of taking risks in life. Friendship.
Positive Role Models
While rough around the edges, the five young teens look out for each other, display acts of courage that go beyond the usual coming-of-age moments (first kisses, asserting individuality, etc.).
Movie shows five teens growing up in Spanish countryside during a mid-1980s summer. One teen is dying of cancer, another is struggling because his father has been in a coma after an accident.
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Violence & Scariness
Bullying. A lead character and his friend sprint away from a group of bullies who pursue them through streets and alleys of a large city. Later, he is bullied by teens on motorcycles who run him off the road on his bike until he falls into the lake below. Later, lead character and his friends fight back, including throwing a boomerang at one of their heads; bloody head wound. The bullies later respond by shooting a rifle at them, throwing their bikes into a lake. Fistfight at a party.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
First kisses. Brief nudity (male buttocks) when swim trunks are pulled down while the lead characters are swimming.
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Strong language throughout. "F--k" often used. Also "a--hole," "s--theads," "chickens--t," "bulls--t," "d--k," "pr--ks," "bastards." Middle-finger gesture.
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Products & Purchases
Characters drink from a Coca-Cola bottle.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens walk past heroin addicts shooting up, some passed out with needles in their arms, one thought to be dead. Teens break into a vacant vacation home and loot the liquor cabinet -- pass around a bottle of whiskey and smoke cigars. Beer drinking at teen party. Adults smoke cigarettes, drink wine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Live Is Life is a 2022 Spanish coming-of-age dramedy. This "hero's journey" centers on five teens in the Spanish countryside searching for, among other things, a flower that they believe will save one of the boys who's dying of cancer as well as the father of another of the boys, who has been in a coma after an accident. Expect bullying: The lead character and a friend run through a large city at the end of the last day of school with several teens pursuing them. Later, the lead character is run off the road and into a lake while on his bicycle by a gang of teens on motorcycles. The lead characters and these bullies later face off in skirmishes throughout the movie, including moments where one of the bullies fires a rifle at them, bikes get thrown in the lake, and the main characters retaliate by hitting a teen in the head with a boomerang (some blood shown). Teens get into a fistfight at a party. The lead characters encounter heroin addicts shooting up, shown passed out and seemingly dead with needles in their arms. Teens sneak into a vacant vacation home, raid the liquor cabinet, and take turns drinking whiskey while smoking cigars. Adults smoke cigarettes and drink wine, and there's drinking at a teen party. Strong language throughout includes "f--k." The film also features first kisses, as well as brief nudity (male buttocks) when swim trunks are pulled down while the lead characters are swimming. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is an engaging coming-of-age dramedy with enough story and acting talent to overcome the familiar aspects of this "hero's journey." Live Is Life tells the story of five young teens in the Spanish countryside who are spending one last summer together. They go on a quest of sorts, and what separates this movie from so many others with a similar story is that this happens to be a very good one.
For instance: While it's set in the mid-1980s, there's a refreshingly light touch to the nostalgia. Unlike other period movies or shows that rely too heavily on abundant pop culture references to see us through (Stranger Things, cough cough), Live Is Life -- aside from the mullet haircuts of the bullying teens, infrequent pop songs from that time, and an ironic prophecy of a future where there will be wireless phones that also function as computers -- focuses more on the story and evolving relationships among these five teens. There's nothing groundbreaking about the use of this genre (coming-of-age) and form (hero's journey) here, but what matters most is how effectively the filmmakers use these to tell a good story. In that context, this works.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.