The Movie Waffler Tribeca Film Festival 2024 Review - DON’T YOU LET ME GO | The Movie Waffler

Tribeca Film Festival 2024 Review - DON’T YOU LET ME GO

Don't You Let Me Go review
A grieving woman is transported back in time and given the chance to relive a weekend with her friends.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Ana Guevara, Leticia Jorge

Starring: Chiara Hourcade, Victoria Jorge, Eva Dans

Don't You Let Me Go poster

"And he was alright, the band was all together. Yes he was alright, the song went on forever." So sings David Bowie on his tribute to Marc Bolan, 'Lady Stardust'. It's a song that packs an emotional punch when needle dropped in Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge's tender time travel drama Don't You Let Me Go. In their film, prompted by the loss of a loved one, those lines take on a new meaning: the "band" here is a trio of female friends, but sadly the song won't go on forever.

Don't You Let Me Go review

At a funeral for her departed friend Elena (Victoria Jorge), thirtysomething Adela (Chiara Hourcade) feels a sense of disconnect from the proceedings. As Elena's sister comments about the innocuous funeral home surroundings, "Nothing here reminds me of my sister." After the ritual Adela sits in her car and contemplates until her attention is caught by a bus whose destination seems to spark some memory. Boarding the bus, she departs in a rural area and heads towards a secluded home, where she finds she has somehow travelled back in time to a happy weekend she once spent with Elena and their mutual friend Luci (Eva Dans).

With its theme of grief and a soundtrack peppered with rock songs, Don't You Let Me Go might be considered a Uruguayan descendant of Lawrence Kasdan's The Big Chill, but its deeply intimate nature makes it more of a little chill-out. There's no big drama here, no major expressions of regret. We simply hang out with these three women and observe as they share a weekend that is relatively mundane but now imbued with a sense of magic. Bucking the trend of time travel narrative protagonists, Adela never informs her companions of her status, presumably because she doesn't want to break the bad news of Elena's impending departure. The only clue we're given that Elena may have an uncertain future is a throwaway line about an upcoming "test."

Don't You Let Me Go review

There are surreal moments that suggest this may all be a dream on the part of Adela. On a nearby beach shells blink their Dali-esque eyeballs and an absurdist comic touch sees Adela pour a seemingly never-ending stream of sand from a shoe. At one point the three protagonists disappear into a painting of a boat and take a trip out to sea.

This could all be insufferably twee and create the unwelcome feeling of watching a stranger's holiday footage, but the commitment to mundanity over melodrama confirms it's a deeply personal venture on the part of the directing duo. The three actresses have a natural ease with one another that helps to sell the idea of longtime friends enjoying what they believe is simply another weekend of fun.

Don't You Let Me Go review

What you take from Don't You Let Me Go will likely depend on your own life experience and how much of a nostalgist you happen to be. The character shading of these three women is so spare that it makes them feel like real people, yet at the same time it also makes it difficult to connect with them beyond their tragedy. I'm not entirely sure Don't You Let Me Go entirely "worked" for me, but I'm in no doubt its directors got something from this venture, and in a project of such intimacy, that's probably what counts.

2024 movie reviews