“Live is Life” is a Spanish comedy-drama film that relies on childhood memories and young camaraderie to present a simple tale. Revolving around five friends on the brink of young adulthood, the film shows problems, both external and internal, that the group fights against. “Live is Life” is a decent watch, driven by the good performances of the young boys, but one that lacks in its storyline and overall crispness.
‘Live Is Life’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Fifteen-year-old Rodri does not have the easiest life in his metropolis school, as the boy is riddled with bad academic performances and scores, and also the relentless torments of older bullies. On the last day of school, before a session break for summer, Rodri and his friend are seen being chased around by a group of such older kids, and along with the usual pressures on young Rodri’s mind, there is one more worry on this particular day. Every year, as a tradition, Rodri and his family drive down to their ancestral homeland in Galicia to spend the weekend (or whole summer) there with the boy’s grandparents. Rodri’s stern father does not like him to be late to join them from school, as he hates being stuck in traffic. The boy somehow evades his attackers and jumps into their car, which had been waiting on the main road for him, and the family starts their yearly trip. Despite facing heavy traffic inside the city, much to the frustration and anger of the father, they breezed past the Spanish countryside to finally reach the picturesque Galicia province with the Mino river majestically flowing by. Upon reaching the grandparents’ house, Rodri’s very first action is to bring out his old cycle from the garage and go meet his childhood friends, who all return to their ancestral village during this time. The boy first meets with Garriga and Maza, who very earnestly collect football cards and take their hobby very seriously, even though Rodri calls it a game for small children. The three then cycle over to meet another friend, Suso, who has been working as a pool-boy at a local house, and they all jump into the pool and catch up with each other.
The friends quickly start to look for plans for the upcoming days, especially with the Midsummer festival very near, and Garriga suggests they go over to a party at the house of a girl he knows from school. Garriga wishes to not just befriend this girl but also ask her to join their group, as they are the only group with no girls among them yet. The rest of the boys dismiss the plan, though, and Suso instead suggests that they go out early in the morning and trek to the top of a nearby mountain and spend the night there, camping amidst open nature. Suso’s intention in climbing up the mountain is revealed by Maza—the Galician villagers believe that a special flower called the “Breath of the Earth” that grows atop the hills can be plucked and made into a magical potion before sunrise on Midsummer’s Eve, which then can cure any sickness in the world. Suso’s father has recently been in an accident where he fell down from the roof of a house he was working on, and has been in a coma for a month since then. Maza also secretly has an illness to cure, not his own but that of his twin brother Alvaro, who is suffering from cancer, but he does not speak of this yet to his friends. On his way back to his grandparents’ house, Rodri is chased by a group of elderly bullies, a gang who call themselves the Sioux, and he is kicked into the river by them. His parents do not believe his account but allow Rodri to spend the next night away as the boy lies that he will stay at a friend’s place. Early the next morning, Rodri, Suso, Garriga, and Maza set out on their cycles for their Midsummer’s Eve plan, and they are also joined by Maza’s brother Alvaro.
How Does Their Plan Of Cycling To The Mountain-Top Go?
The friends first visit a Templar castle nearby, and over the course of the trip, it is revealed that Alvaro regularly has to visit the hospital for his chemo treatment, and the boy also has a shaved head because of it. Together they push open a crypt and bring out possessions they had hidden inside probably a year (or at least some months) ago. This includes a bottle of Coca-Cola and a boomerang, among other smaller stuff. The boys now go down to a nearby quarry in order to continue on their path to the mountain-top, despite knowing that the Sioux boys and girls hang out there. Before heading there, they stop at a grocery store to get snacks, supplies, and ice cream, the last of which Alvaro receives a very big chunk. The boy says that being sick now always gets him the sympathy of people, which he does not mind enjoying, especially after the pain he has to go through as part of his treatment. At the quarry, the boys make a plan in which two of them would go over the Sioux members’ motorbikes and cut the cables on them when the others would distract them with fireworks. As the Sioux’s only upper-hand over the boys is their motorbikes, this plan would render them powerless and therefore allow the boys to pass without any hassle. The two brothers, Alvaro and Maza, go over to cut the cables while the others stage the distraction, and all goes well until they realize that the twins have not been able to cut the wires of all the bikes. The Sioux leader gets hold of a working bike and chases the younger boys, when Rodri’s amateur skill with boomerangs is called into action. The friends work together to get the Sioux leader into position, where Rodri hits him with his boomerang on the head, making the boy fall into the nearby water body along with his bike. The five evade the place quickly but have a misunderstanding amongst themselves when Garriga does not want to follow Suso’s plan and instead calls him poor, which enrages the young boy. This disagreement does not last too long, though, as Alvaro falls sick, almost fainting, and the four others help their friend out. The group then cycle around entertaining themselves with swims at random pools in private houses where they break into, and Rodri even calls his father from one such empty house, as the boy was supposed to inform his parents that he is keeping safe. On his way out, he even steals a bottle of alcohol and a few cigars, which the boys enjoy, and then they take a nap on a shaded field.
Their short nap is quickly interrupted, though, when the Sioux boys track them down and chase them on their motorcycles, which they have clearly fixed in the meantime. Rodri and his friends are forced to rush to the river, leave their cycles on the shore and enter the water on a motorboat that had been tied to the shore. While the friends notice a deep wound on Rodri’s thigh and think of ways to mend it, the Sioux boys threaten to throw their bicycles into the water if they do not face them off on the shore, and then carry through with the threat, throwing the cycles into the lake one after the other. With no more cycles to continue their journey, the boys use the boat to cross over to the other side of the river and walk towards their destination. The next part of their journey takes the young boys through a place they have been referring to as the “sketchy” or “dodgy” area; a place that all the adults have also asked them not to go to; a place that is, in reality, a slum. They see men fighting over money while going through the place and also notice a terrible drug addiction among the people. Suso hears the cries of a baby from inside a local church building, and enters the place, followed by his friends, even though they repeatedly ask him not to. They see a little baby crying incessantly beside a woman who has clearly killed herself or has lost consciousness from a drug overdose. Unwilling to leave the baby in such a mess where she might not even survive, Suso takes her along, and the group quickly adapts to her. They name the little girl Hope, and then feed her little amounts of their milkshake. Realizing that they would have to get hold of actual milk for Hope soon, the friends finally agree to Garriga’s plan of going to the party being held by the girl from his school.
On the way, the two brothers have a fight between each other, but when they talk it over, Maza reveals how sad and afraid he is of Alvaro’s sickness, as he loves his brother too much to think of life without him. Although such scenes are there to build on the emotional content in ‘Live is Life,’ there is a certain crudeness in how they are written that does not make them too convincing. The friends finally reach the girl’s house, and Garriga immediately starts to try ways of grabbing her attention, while Suso takes baby Hope to a room to change her soiled diaper. Garriga tries a gig with the drums, but his crush asks him to stop it before disturbing the neighbors. However, the girl then meets with him in private inside the house when Garriga goes looking for Suso and thanks him for coming. A romantic moment stirs, and Garriga is finally able to kiss his crush, much to the relief of Suso, who would have been caught by the girl otherwise. After having changed Hope’s diaper, replacing it with layers of small clothes, and after taking a bottle of milk from the fridge, Suso makes his way out of the house. The boys are soon alarmed when the Sioux boys arrive at the party looking for them, and Garriga, too, has to leave his crush alone. Leaving the house, the five boys are cornered by the Sioux, and their leader asks for one of them to step up and fight him. When Alvaro steps out and challenges him to fight, the boy first laughs him off and then insults his sickness. In return, Alvaro talks about how the boy is sad and lonely in life as neither his family nor friends love him, as opposed to Alvaro, whose loving friends always make life better for him. The young boy then uncontrollably throws up on the Sioux leader, who tries to hurt Alvaro with a knife immediately. However, Maza jumps in to his brother’s help and beats the elder boy down to the ground, and manages to make him bleed even. As the boy brashly rejects any help from his gang members, Maza and his friends help Alvaro walk as they leave the scene.
‘Live Is Life’ Ending Explained: Do Rodri And His Friends Make The Magic Potion In Time?
The boys finally make it to the mountain and light a campfire in the forest to spend the night there. They perform a playful ritualistic jump over the burning fire to bring good luck to all of them and then sit down for a chat. Rodri bravely throws his report card from school into the fire, one that he was supposed to show to his parents but had still not yet done. Alvaro had earlier playfully told him that the best way to avoid bad grades in school was to get sick, as he had learned from personal experience that teachers would never give bad grades to a helpless student with cancer. But the boys realize the very serious and grave extent of Alvaro’s illness when Suso finds a medical report in the sleeping boy’s pocket and then rolls up his sleeve to see a tumor on his arm. Maza reveals that his brother had had this tumor for some time, and it had not decreased in size ever since, for which Alvaro would soon have his arm cut off. Despite knowing of this fate, the young boy had not told his friends about this and had instead focused on making this trip a memorable farewell trip for him. The next morning, as the sun rises, the five friends reach the mountain-top and pluck the flowers and use the petals to make the drink. All the friends refuse to have a drink and instead let Alvaro drink all of their parts to cure his cancer, and the rest is saved up for Suso’s father. The boys get hold of a tractor from a nearby farm and drive to the hospital where Suso’s father has been kept. First, they leave baby Hope in the nursery of the hospital along with other newborn babies, and they also leave a note with her that asks the nurses to take good care of the little girl and informs them that she is named Hope. The five then go over to the ward with Suso’s father, who is still in a coma, and the young boy makes his father unconsciously drink the potion. Suso then heartfeltly talks to his father, asking him not to die, not to leave him alone in this world, and the friends all come together to console him. At the end of the weekend, the five friends gather at their common meeting spot and think back on the adventure they had on this Midsummer’s Eve. They finally say their goodbyes and promise each other that they will return every time, much like Rodri’s boomerang, which he gives to Suso. They all wish for the good health of Alvaro and also Suso’s father, and then depart on their own ways. Rodri returns to his grandparents’ house, where he tells his parents that he has to talk to them about something.
Along with presenting the innocence and enjoyments of childhood, ‘Live is Life’ also brings into the conversation the need to live in the present without worrying too much about the past or future, much like the Opus song that it takes its name from. Alvaro talks about this most extensively to his friends, as he has had this realization prematurely and sadly due to his bad health—that living in the present and enjoying every moment of it is the best way to live a human life. Also, with this, Rodri learns the lesson of being honest, perhaps because life is too short to build up false pretensions, and the last scene suggests that he is going to come clean to his parents about his bad grades in school. Despite the group’s immense confidence in always staying together and remaining friends forever, those who have lived life past their age cannot help but feel a bit reminiscent of similar promises made to childhood friends, promises that are seldom kept. It is majorly in these aspects of young emotions and recollections that “Live is Life” succeeds in building short-lived connections with the audience, and this somewhat makes up for an otherwise average watch.
“Live is Life” is a 2022 Drama Comedy film directed by Dani de la Torre.