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3 Reasons Why We Can’t Wait to Watch ‘You Can Live Forever’

Jun 13, 2023

3 Reasons Why We Can’t Wait to Watch ‘You Can Live Forever’
  • More than just another sapphic love story

    Filled with risk-taking, career-altering performances, “You Can Live Forever” captures a raw and vulnerable portrait of young, forbidden love through a lens we’ve never seen before. Sarah Watts and Mark Slutsky’s new film offers a captivating and aching glimpse into what it’s like to navigate queerness while growing up in the Jehovah’s Witness community.

    The film tells the story of Jaime (Anwen O’Driscoll), who, after the death of her father, is sent to live with her devout Jehovah’s Witness relatives. In that setting, an immediate and unforeseen spark sets off between her and Marike (June Laporte), the daughter of a prominent Witness Elder. The connection between these two ignites the beginning of a hidden and unspoken love affair that eventually grows past the point of being concealable. The two leads must then choose whether to remain committed to their faith or choose to break away from the influences of their surroundings. 

    If you’re somehow still not sold on the premise (I don’t understand how that could be possible), then let me live my failed lawyer dreams and present my case, your honour. 

    Here are the main three reasons why you’re going to want to add this movie to your ‘Must Watch’ list this year.

    The film that’s been years in the making

    The directors, Sarah Watts and Mark Slutsky, have been friends for over a decade now — so when their first feature film collaboration was announced, I knew it was going to be a special project. 

    They decided to embark on this journey together eight years ago — during an evening where the two were having drinks at a cosy dive bar in Montreal — when Watts begun to speak about her personal experiences of navigating her queerness while growing up in a Jehovah’s Witness (JW) community.

    Part of why the writing process took as many years as it did, was because “[they were] waiting for funding. And we just kept revising it. But in a way, it felt like we were mining Sarah’s memories of being a Jehovah’s Witness in the ’90s. Just the little details would just pop out after three years of screenwriting that Sarah would just mention, like, “Oh, the kids have to pretend that in this fellowship, parents are dead.” And I would fall out of my seat and be like, “That is such a fascinating and heartbreaking detail. It has to go in the movie,” Slutsky told Hammer to Nail.

    It’s truly the first of its kind

    Watts and Slutsky were committed to truly capturing the authentic “anti-aesthetic” tone of what it’s like to grow up in the JW community. 

    To this day, the Jehovah’s Witness community maintains its stance of rejecting and labeling homosexuality as ‘immoral.’ Those who remain within the church are then obliged to completely sever ties with anyone in the JW community who come out as queer, even if they’re close family members, resulting in the heartbreaking expulsion of those who belong to the LGBTQIA+ community. 

    As a queer woman who lived this reality firsthand, Watts was able to pull from her memories in order to paint an authentic, informative, and accurate portrait of what it’s like to experience the loss of contact with family and friends after departing from the church. It’s her experience with this kind of grief that imbued it with a unique and deeply personal perspective. 

    ‘You Can Live Forever’ is already a huge hit

    Who doesn’t love being a part of the OG hype crew of a huge hit? Jamie and Marike’s love affair has already ammassed a thriving and ardent following! Devoted and excited fans have already began doing their thing, creating fan videos, reviews, and edits showcasing the duo, that have reached over 38 million views on TikTok alone. 

    Am I single handedly responsible for approximately 2 million of those views? No comment (absolutely). 

    Jamie and Marike’s passionate relationship and indestructible bond has already become an international sensation, captivating the hearts of millions around the world. 

    So, no pressure (but some pressure), it’s time to hop on the bandwagon! 

    ‘You Can Live Forever’ debuted at Tribeca Film Festival last year, and was co-director Sarah Watts and Mark Slutsky’s first collaborative feature. 

    The film is set to premiere in Curzon Cinemas, ICA, HOME Manchester & select digital platforms like Peccadillo On Demand, iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Prime Video UK on June 16.

    Daniela Ochoa-Bravo is a writer and creative based in Brooklyn, born in Bogotá. She is the Founder and Editor of Colectivo Tabú, a project dedicated to democratizing the publishing industry by creating a space where the works of emerging and established artists can seamlessly coexist alongside each other.

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