Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

Queerguru’s Janet Prolman previews YOU CAN LIVE FOREVER due to premiere at Tribeca Film Fest


“You Can Live Forever” is a Canadian feature film premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival and then opening in selected theaters. The title is a reference to the belief held by Jehovah’s Witnesses that one can live forever in Paradise on earth. The movie is a heart-tugger about two teenage women who fall in love despite living in a religious community that forbids it. 

After an inauspicious opening (white titles on a black screen set to music, which works better when done by Woody Allen), the movie grabbed me immediately with its opening scene. We see the main character, Jaime (Anwen O’Driscoll) standing atop a dirty public toilet on a moving train so she can puff a few hits of weed beneath the bathroom vent. Right then and there the film begins to forge a connection between the viewer and the character. Jaime in her Converse sneakers and jeans, a black Siouxsie and the Banshees T plus a red plaid flannel shirt, eyes behind round wire-rimmed glasses and ears enveloped in headphones: she is every alienated young tomboy/dyke, and my “inner teen” knows her well.  

With all her baggage, our heroine is picked up at the station by her aunt and temporary guardian while her mother recovers from a breakdown precipitated by her father’s death.

The aunt and uncle are ensconced in the church and expect her to join them at meetings, and no, she can’t wear what she’s got on. The scene with Jamie frowning at herself in the mirror wearing her aunt-selected dress tore at my heart. Quiet moments such as this resonate throughout this moving film.

At church, desperately trying to hide inside her black zip-up hoodie, she spots a redhead her age in the front row, and her gaze is returned with a welcoming smile. Gradually it becomes apparent that the only way she can spend time with the red-haired Marike (June Laporte) is to participate in service to “the Truth” as a witness. She and Marike quickly become friends, as Marike mentors her in this, but as their mutual attraction blossoms, it’s clear that some lesbian mentoring by the more experienced Jaime will be given in return.  Beginning with little touches, then kisses and more in stolen moments, they fall in love but are clearly not free to be who they are.

“You Can Live Forever” illustrates the dangers of extreme religion, by which I mean any organized religion or cult that demands strict adherence to its dogma. All the characters are portrayed humanely and without caricature. I highly recommend this gentle, believable film.

Written and directed\ by and



Review: Janet Prolman

Janet Prolman was born in Boston, Massachusetts, where her mother nicknamed her “my little queer.” She has also lived in North Carolina and New York. A lover of short stories, theater, music, and performance, she knows the lyrics to almost every song or advertising jingle she’s ever heard. Now on Cape Cod, she enjoys kayaking and frequenting Provincetown.

Posted by queerguru  at  16:47

Genres:  drama, lesbian

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