Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados (2013) Poster

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10/10
Touches deep human emotions
Howard Schumann29 March 2015
After fifty years, it is still difficult to assess the full effect the Beatles have had on our culture. Even with the emergence of truth-tellers such as Bob Dylan in the early 60s, the full flowering of independent thinkers and irreverent behavior was not fully realized until the Beatles arrived to help make it a permanent transformation. While the impact of the Beatles was greatest in the U.S. and Britain, the sense of being a part of a new community was felt even in totalitarian regimes where the hippie look and the Beatle-style longhair among teens became a reason for a resurgence of hope even when accompanied by establishment panic.

The subject is explored with confidence in writer/director David Trueba's (Soldiers of Salamina) Living is Easy with Eyes Closed, winner of six Goya Awards, the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars. Inspired by a real incident, the title of the comedy/drama mirrors the first line of the Beatles song Strawberry Fields Forever whose lyrics signal attention to the growing use of psychedelics. Set in Spain in 1966 during the last years of the oppressive Franco regime, Antonio, played by veteran actor Javier Cámera (I'm So Excited), is a single and somewhat lonely English teacher who is a devoted Beatles fan and uses their lyrics as a teaching tool.

When he hears that the famous Beatle John Lennon is filming Richard Lester's How I Won the War in the south of Spain, he decides to take some time off and drive down to Almeria with the hopes of meeting John and asking him to include his song lyrics in future albums. Along the way, Antonio picks up two young hitchhikers, both on the run from unpleasant situations at home, Belén (Natalia de Molina) a three-month pregnant 20-year-old leaving the nunnery where she was sent by her mother, and Juanjo (Francesc Colomer, Barcelona Summer Night), a 16-year-old boy (oddly a Rolling Stones fan) who has run away from his abusive father after an argument over his Beatles-style haircut.

Although there is some initial uneasiness, Antonio's friendly, talkative nature allows them to relax and feel comfortable. Once in Almeria, the trio bond in a local farmhouse and the more experienced Belén has much to teach her new young friend. Though the film abounds with warmth and humor, especially when Antonio attempts to fulfill his dream of meeting John, there are some dark moments as well. A local bully, who may or may not be a stand-in for the Franco regime, messes up Juanjo's thick mop of hair and worse but the bully's strawberry fields will not last forever.

Beautifully photographed by Daniel Vilar (The Artist and the Model) and buoyed by authentic performances from the entire cast, Living is Easy with Eyes Closed touches deep human emotions. Though the coming of age theme is fairly common in world cinema, rarely has it been done with such tenderness and intelligence, and its message of standing up to fear even though you may look foolish in the process is an important one. When Antonio tells his young friends that, "you can't live in fear. Too many people in Spain live in fear," it's a comment with multiple undertones. Living may be easier with your eyes closed, but it is much more satisfying when they are open.
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7/10
Based on real deeds , this is a comedy road movie about an English teacher obsessed with the Beatles
ma-cortes1 July 2014
Entertaining and fun movie filled with interesting characters , humor , drama and good feeling . Living Is Easy With Your Eyes Closed (Vivir Es Fácil Con Los Ojos Cerrados) was the big winner at the 28th Goya Awards ceremony, landing the Spanish Film Academy's two top prizes -- best film and best director - . It is inspired by actual events in 1966, it's a comedy road movie about an English teacher (Javier Camera) obsessed with the Beatles . As he motivated his students using Beatles music . He hears that John Lennon is in Spain and he then decides to go to Almeria . Along the way , Antonio picks up two runaways passengers , a teenager (Francesc Colomer) and a pregnant girl (Natalia De Molina) . As in Almeria is John Lennon acting in the comedy How I Won The War . They were looking for John Lennon and they found themselves .

This is a marvelous ode to adolescence plenty of innocence , friendship , cooperation , curiosity and comradeship . The movie title, Living is Easy With Eyes Closed, comes from a line in Lennon's song Strawberry Fields Forever which he wrote while filming How I Won the War in Almeria . Director David Trueba shows these important and universal values through adolescents's minds . It is a notorious picture of great educational content , including an enjoyable , attractive message and amusing and fun scenes . Spanish cinema has a great ability in dealing with films about teenagers as well as adults , with interesting and thought-provoking messages that are a clear example of an allegory of notorious values such as friendship , honor , collaboration and love . "Vivir Es Facil con Ojos Cerrados " is a song and an allegory to teens , where curiosity and innocence are the most characteristic attributes having adolescents as well as adults well represented by Javier Camera . We do see the world we know each and every one of us, but from his innocent look , with much more easygoing . That's where all the power comes from this movie, because of their three protagonists with a greater sense of loyalty , confidence , fidelity and honor which is contemplated in the touching relationships . ¨Living Is Easy With Your Eyes Closed " is a splendid ode to adolescence , a nostalgic trip to the past in which we become teens an hour and a half , where everything was discovered , in which an adventurous trip emerges serious things . It's a teen's movie but its strength lies in its universal character , not a story just for adolescents , it's for everyone . Fabulous acting by Javier Camera as Antonio, an English teacher who drives to Almeria in hopes of meeting his hero, John Lennon and on rout picks up two young passengers . Javier steals the show as sympathetic bachelor who has an adolescent thought . This entertaining film displays a colorful as well as evocative cinematography by Daniel Vilar . In addition , a sensitive and rousing musical score by Pat Metheny , including wonderful songs .

The motion picture was compellingly directed by David Trueba, getting a considerable hit smash . Six Goyas landed in the laps of director David Trueba , as he film won best picture, director, screenplay, actor, new actor, and soundtrack . David Trueba was born (1969) in Madrid, Spain . Married to Ariadna Gil (who here plays as mother) , though nowadays separated and he is younger brother of Fernando Trueba and brother-in-law of Cristina Huete who along with Andres Vicente Gomez produced a lot of films . David is a nice writer such as ¨The girl of your eyes¨ Perdita Durango (1997). Known for comedies such as ¨The good life¨ , ¨Masterpiece¨ , ¨Madrid 1987¨ , ¨Welcome home¨ and of course "Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed". Rating : Better than average. Well worth watching .
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8/10
A movie with big heart. A joy to watch.
MissPorter20 October 2014
Living is easy with eyes closed.

Living is also easy when you view the world through rose coloured glasses. And whether you're the type to feel nostalgic about things before they even happen or not, this film takes you on a glorious sepia toned journey to Almeria in the late 1960s. And then makes you wish you were there.

The film follows the plight of the affable, portly protagonist, Antonio and his dream to meet his hero, John Lennon. You see, Antonio is not just a devoted Beatles fan, he's also a devoted English teacher with the patience of a saint, using The Beatle's lyrics (hot off the press) to give meaning in his classes. And there are many other saintly and religious themes throughout the film which are especially confronting for the pregnant teenager, Belen, one of the two runaways Antonio picks up en route to Almeria. The other is Juanjo, an almost debilitatingly introverted, artistic youth struggling to please his stern father. This unlikely trio find the 'help' they need in the form of one another.

The film perfectly balances moments of melancholy and joy, which is essentially life at its core. And there are nods to Truffaut (I won't give them away). Spain in the 1960's was not all free love and liberation. With the threat of the cold war looming and Spain under the tyrannic rule of the Franco regime, this seemingly light-hearted tale is set against the backdrop of a fairly weighty political climate. But don't think this stands in the way of our characters having some eye watering laughs along the way.

For younger and/or attention deficit viewers there may be parts of the film which feel a little slow, but this is the genius of the pacing. It is a quaint story about little people with big heart, and most importantly the pacing adds to the sense of time and place - an ambling coastal town.

A lovely seaside romp with some fairly lovable characters, 'Living is easy with eyes closed' was a joy to watch. An ode to the underdog and the outsider, sure it was 'feel good' but what's so bad about that? And for the record, I would consider marrying Antonio, balding and all. That man has a heart of gold.
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8/10
Cámara tender in this charming quirky film
af_by949 November 2013
This charming, quirky film written and directed by David Trueba seems tailor-made for Javier Cámara who delivers a tender performance. (Viewers will remember Cámara's role as Simon in the wonderful film The Silent Life of Words.) Here Cámara plays Antonio, a high school English and Latin teacher, on a quest to meet John Lennon. Lennon is briefly in Almeria (south-eastern Spain; preferred location for Spaghetti Westerns). The movie title, Living is Easy With Eyes Closed is a line from Strawberry Fields Forever which Lennon wrote while in Almeria. En route to the coast, the optimistic and playful Antonio first picks up Belen and later Juan Jo, both runaways. At the final destination, the trio soon meet Ramon, a bar owner, and his disabled son Bruno. The story's themes, among others, are kindness, friendship, determination, dignity, bullying and revenge. To me the movie title is ironic since Antonio doesn't go through life with his eyes closed; he sees and understands everything. There are gaps in the film: after a theater scene why is Belen driving while Antonio appears drunk? Yet, the brutal face slapping and ear pulling are true of these times under Franco's regime. Watch this film, it's worth it.
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9/10
The true story of a Spanish teacher of English
lennonalmeriaforever3 November 2013
The factual story of Juan Carrion has never been spread before and should be known by everyone interested in The Beatles and involved in Education from now on thanks to this great movie. It shows an actual character, a Spanish teacher of English who begun to teach English through Beatles songs as soon as the Fabs became famous and when he found out John Lennon was acting in Almeria location he aimed to meet him to thank him for his involuntary played role as a teacher -ironic, being John so reluctant of teachers-. The plot is not focused only on this teacher but on two youngsters who have left their homes for different reasons. It is a good feelings road movie to Almeria, where by that year of 1966 had turned into the European Hollywood. Since Lawrence of Arabia was shot over there, Clint Eastwood,Anthonny Quinn, Brigite Bardot and so many other stars had passed by the same sunny place than John Lennon. It was not because of his likening of The Beatles, nor liberty nor politics who drove Juan to meet John but his deep respect for his pupils. He wanted to have the lyrics first to provide their pupils with them as soon as possible. For millions of non-English native speakers Beatles fans around the world Beatles songs used to mean more sounds than words and messages. Unfortunately, for those whose mother tongue is English have been very difficult to understand that English have to be learned hardly day by day. When Seargent Pepper's album came out with its lyrics printed, that decision was taken as a normal one. But no one -not even the cleverest Beatles researchers- until nowadays had a reason why The Beatles decided to do so. The reason remained in Almeria, Spain, between John and this man called Juan Carrion. I sincerely hope 'Living is easy' gets to your countries soon so that you can enjoy of this beautiful movie and the story behind.
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10/10
A heart-warming story
LaFarfelue14 November 2015
"Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed" is a beautiful movie. The acting and direction are charming and fresh. I particularly loved the film and felt connected to it, even though I am not the greatest Beatles fan.

The story is of an English teacher, obsessed with The Beatles, particularly with John Lennon. He is planning to meet John Lennon in person and ask him a bunch of questions, or maybe simply talk to him. Don't all of us dream of doing the same with our favorite celebrity? On his way, while driving his cute 60s car, he picks up two young hitchhikers.

The story has a slow pace, focusing on characters rather than action. The pace allows us to get acquainted with the characters, know their stories and their purposes. The pace might be too slow for some people, I am pretty sure my boyfriend doze off for some minutes while watching.

As for me, I loved the way the characters were developed, while the actors portrayed them beautifully. I loved the relationship between Antonio, a middle-aged guy, and the two young hitchhikers, one of whom is only sixteen: while he occasionally gives them some lessons about life ("no matter what you do, you cannot live in fear!"), he treats them as adults and respects their decisions ("you must have been an adult when you got into this situation, I'm sure you'll solve it as an adult").

A gorgeous little gem to watch, it has a heart-warming feeling and some characters that are as human as they can get.
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9/10
Brilliant evocation of an era and what the Beatles did for all of us
arathorn35725 October 2014
This is a quiet gentle movie full of humor and understanding about the sometimes painful but rewarding journey to adult hood.

Of huge assistance to those young folk making this journey is a really talented teacher; don't just take my word for it - learn from the movie what Lennon did to assist the teacher in his quest.

Also interesting to show what life is like living in a fascist state - fascism starts in the family and at school.

The director David Trueba is clearly a talent to watch - he was a screenwriter on the much darker confronting but interesting Perdita Durango (Dance with the devil - 1997) - he clearly has real insight into human nature. This is a much kinder more thoughtful film and one for all of us.

9/10 for me (there are no tens).
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10/10
Wonderful Movie -- Please bring it to release for sale in the USA!
pam-64-62456626 July 2014
I saw this movie on an international flight with United Airlines from the USA to Germany. In summary, it is a refreshing tale that layers many of life's lessons into the backdrop of the intrigue of the "mid-early" days of the Beatles -- with the focus on John Lennon. The summary plot is of a Spanish school teacher who is teaching English, and who happens to appear to be obsessed with John Lennon, decides to drive to the south of Spain (AWOL from work). On the way, he picks up and ends up somewhat parenting, "life coaching", and probable saving two run aways, along with himself. As a side note, the two runaways fall in love through a very circuitous route. In the end, Lennon is found, and you need to see the movie for the rest.

I only saw the movie this week and fell in love with it. I wanted to show my family tonight, but found it is not available for sale. OMG!!! That is a travesty.... Someone have the sense to share this post/review and send it to someone who wants to make money from this film. I, for one, would pay to own it. Just after one viewing...!!
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10/10
this film is pure poetry
gabidragomir13 April 2015
I gave this film a chance. It was on TV. I was in doubt. Then I realized how good it is. Pure Poetry. A journey through relationships, events and symbols. It looks like all the characters are so well designed, the relationship in between them. Two worlds are presented, the old generation vs the new generation, the hippie one. It has some nice landscapes also. It has a very nice music. It has rhythm. The movie is so well designed; you can meet in this movie three characters, one belonging to the adult generation, a teacher, and two kids. But I don't want to spoil it. You can also find lots of wisdom in this film. Just give it a try! Give it a try!
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8/10
Wonderful!
Mike B16 April 2016
This is a wonderful film, albeit on the slow side with no histrionics, with three different characters all trying to find their pathway in life.

It's a road movie about a middle-age teacher and two much younger adults. The character interactions are fascinating and simply grow on you as the film develops. We come too feel for each of them. This is very character driven film with a slow intensity. The Spanish landscape is arid and serves to reinforce the struggle they are undergoing. At the end we sense a resolution to their journey and a sense of fulfillment. The human aspect is highly developed with a strong emotional pull throughout.

For John Lennon and Beatle fans there is only a slight appearance of John towards the finale.
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9/10
Outstanding 'little' movie from Spain
Paul Allaer21 February 2016
"Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed" (2013 release from Spain) brings the story of Antonio, a thirty-something English teacher. The time is 1066 and the place is Spain. Antonio is Beatles-obsessed, and as the movie opens we see him using the lyrics of "Help" to teach his class. When Antonio finds out that John Lennon is in southern Spain (to film "How I Won the War"), Antonio decides to drive down, determined to meet Lennon. Along the way, Antonio picks up two teenage runaways: first there is Belén, whom we later learn escaped from a nuns' caretaker place to go back to her mom in Malaga. A bit later there is Juango, a 16 yr. old who tired of his father's dictatorial antics. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see it for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from well-known Spanish writer-director David Trueba (he also brought us "Madrid, 1987"). Here, Trueba mixes facts (Lennon was indeed in Almeria, Spain then, and he did write the basis for "Strawberry Fields Forever" at that time) and fiction (the three main characters) to bring us a wonderful little film about the hopes and dreams of these three people who come to depend on each other more than they realize, and along the way find a renewed lease on life. The movie does a great job of establishing the insecurities and flaws of the main characters, without ever going overboard or falling into sentimentalism.Natalia de Molina (remarkably similar in appearance to Dakota Johnson) is sensational as Belén You'll enjoy the movie even more if you are a Beatles fan (is there anyone who doesn't like the Beatles?). At one point, Antonio laments the fact that the Beatles albums do not contain the lyrics to the songs. "John, give us a break!", he sighs, ha! Also, I don't know this for a fact, but I believe that the demo version that we hear in the movie of "Strawberry Fields Forever" is the same one that we hear (partially) on the Beatles Anthology 2 compilation0.

I recently stumbled upon this movie while browsing the foreign film section at my local library. So glad that I picked this up! As the movie approached its conclusion, I so wished that it could've played just a little longer, as I was not ready to say goodbye to these three endearing characters. If you are in the mood for a top notch foreign movie, you cannot go wrong with this. "Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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A real gem of a road movie in Spain to find John Lennon.
TxMike1 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I found this movie on Netflix streaming and it is a real gem of a movie but English-only fans need to do a lot of reading subtitles. Most of it is in Spanish, and of course set and filmed in Spain.

My first attraction to the movie is its title, that phrase and the song "Strawberry Fields" have been favorites of mine since the 1970s. The phrase, "living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see" is one of the more profound in any form of writing.

Set in 1966, Javier Cámara is 40-something Antonio, a teacher of English in a small Spanish city. He has become an ardent Beatles fan and uses lyrics from their songs to help teach. He finds out that John Lennon is an actor in the 1967 British film "How I Won The War", being filmed not too far away, in Almería, so he borrows his dad's old car and sets out on a road trip. He matter of factly plans to find Lennon and meet him.

Along the way he quickly meets two runaways looking for rides. The first is a young 20s Natalia de Molina as Belén. She doesn't seem too particular about where she goes and accepts the offer of a ride.

The second is teenager Francesc Colomer as Juanjo. We see some of his family dynamics and his dad is very hard on him, insisting he cut his mop of hair short, among other things, so he hits the road.

It is not possible in a written review to describe the wonderful dynamics that develop among this trio. Antonio is a very nice man, he easily does favors for others, and because he always has been teaching children never has had time for a wife and family.

This is one of the best movies I have seen this year.

SPOILERS: The three find a temporary base in a small fishing and strawberry village on the sea, Juanjo gets a menial job at the restaurant/bar. After one day and just before bed in separate rooms, Antonia tells Belén how pretty she is and calmly wonders if she would consider marrying him. Then he tells her he would marry her. The day before he found out she was 3 months pregnant. That same night Belén has a romantic encounter with Juanjo, but basically tells him he is too young. Antonio finally does manage to get a few minutes with Lennon in his trailer and comes out with his portable recorder, with an early version of "Strawberry Fields" sung and played by Lennon. As they all part he tells Belén you know where to find me, if you ever need me for anything.
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9/10
The whole of human life is here - with John Lennon!
akidd24688 December 2016
Don't you love those hidden gems? Off work and feeling miserable, found this and for two hours suspended my disbelief and my feelings of illness! A slight story, based on what actually happened, in Spain in 1966. Some have said the pace is a little slow, I found every scene perfectly shot and perfectly timed. Hints of politics, pop music, the beat generation, the older generation, bullying, love, sex, disability, revenge, honour, integrity and connecting. An anti-hero in the non-clichéd sense and naturalistic performances all round. This is a beautiful little film, and if I tell you my favourite film ever is Local hero, well, that should be both a clue and recommendation enough!
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10/10
As near perfection in a film as it's possible to get
J M IRISH20 November 2016
This film manages to interlace culture,politics,and the complexities of being a human being in a story based on real events and people.Its a long time since I have seen a piece of cinema crafted at such a complete level . Fascism and Catholicism in Spain provide the backdrop for a character based drama which explores a clash of cultures in the Sixties and the compromises ordinary people make to survive. But this film is not 'Salo' or 'The Travelling Players'. It uses a realist style and characterisation to develop its themes of personal freedom of actions and ideas. Within a traditional realist,narrative structure it reminded me what such a style of film making can say as art ...and us..... if it can get distribution .And that says something about how we have used those freedoms in the twenty first century.....inundated with entertainment technology that is all ideologically similar ............maybe a modern kind of fascism ?
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5/10
Predictable feel-good movie
Yaiza1 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Predictable feel-good movie based on the true story of a school teacher in Spain in the 60's. It's a story of hope, perseverance, and coming-of-age, told through the road-trip of three sweet strangers. Nothing strictly wrong with that, although sometimes the predictability is just too much, and the feel-good vive gets way too cheesy. The story in which the film is based is actually an amazing one, and the movie could have benefited from that raw material in a better way. Instead, it is full of clichés and flat characters. Spain is depicted as if on a tourist guide from the days of Franco: Beautiful landscapes, naive peasants, pretty girls, and a closed, narrow-minded society. Parents are severe, children are rebellious, and... strawberries are eaten in Almería. The actors do a decent job, but the direction is almost embarrassing at certain points. Seriously, the girl who sings as she has sex?! The handicapped boy with whom everybody gets on really well just because? The tough guy who is plainly mean without a reason?? The whole thing could have felt more real, more natural, if only the characters and scenes were treated with a bit more depth. I learned that this movie has been selected to represent Spain at the Oscar's. OMG. But OK, considering the films that have been awarded in the past, anything can happen, I guess. And yet, where are the days when Spanish cinema would leave you breathless? What happened to the young Garci, the solid Medem, the brilliant Berlanga, the elegant Saura, the fresh Almodóvar, the audacious Amenábar? Ay!
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6/10
Well acted and lovingly presented...but nothing more.
MartinHafer8 June 2015
"Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed" is an odd little slice of life movie. The acting and direction are quite nice, though otherwise I didn't particularly love the film or felt connected to it. Perhaps it might be different for you--particularly if you are a Beatles fan.

The film is set in Spain in 1966. A completely obsessed English teacher dreams of meeting his idol, John Lennon. And, when Lennon comes to Spain to film "What I Did in the War", impulsively he sets off on a cross-country trek to see the singer. Along the way he picks up a runaway teen and pregnant young lady and they set off for the movie set.

All of this unfolds very slowly. VERY. This didn't bother me, though I am pretty sure many folks will balk at this. As for me, my problem was that although the characters were mildly interesting due to the acting, they were only mildly interesting. I didn't really care about them or their pursuit. Not a bad film at all but one that left me feeling curiously disinterested.
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