I saw this Chilean rom-com at the Seattle International Film Fest last night with my friend, Lilian, who is visiting from Scotland and who got us in via her friend, Andrea, whose new boyfriend, Brian, had passes. They sent instructions to us about where to find them in line via SMS, which Lilian forwarded to me via e-mail. This is the modern urban world that Fuck My Life takes place in, opening as it does with a paean to the charms of Chile’s largest city, Santiago, which may not be as famous as New York or Paris, the characters admit, but, hey, it has a river of shit running through it. Who knew? Well, these are the kinds of things you go to an international film festival to learn.
Google is also telling me that “fuck my life” is a catchphrase these days (FML is the TLA), and since I didn’t know that already, it confirms my sense that this film is aimed at a younger audience, but I still really enjoyed it. It’s purely by-the-numbers, but the jokes are very funny and the depiction of the anguish and confusion of young love is sweet. It’s the story of Javier, an unemployed art director who is trying to get over his ex, Sofia, with the helpful and hectoring advice of his best pal, Angela. (Can we see where this is going yet?) Javier is an emotional mess, and the movie follows him as he stumbles from one humiliating experience to another as he thrashes around like the lost boy he is.
The three leads are very appealing and all easy enough to identify with, but the real prize of the film — along with the beautiful postcard Santiago it lets us play in — is the cast of eccentric supporting characters, from Javier’s goofy, too-liberal-minded mother to the macho bartender at his favorite night club to the exuberant blonde model with implants bought in Miami who wants to fantasize aloud about Sofia’s hot new musician boyfriend, Jean Paul, while she’s having sex with Javier.
Love and lust make fools of us all, and it’s funny from the right perspective. This is a formula rom-com, so Javier gains perspective in the end, which is jolly good for him, but in the meantime we’ve been treated to sarcastic jokes, a wry look at romantic life in the Facebook era (although this aspect actually seemed a bit underdeveloped), and a loving homage to a big city full of good-looking young people. Some of whom are more than a little loco.