‘You Can Live Forever’ Review: Do You Love Me Now?

Religion comes between two girls falling in love in the 1990s in this sweet coming-of-age film bathed in grunge hues.

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By Elisabeth Vincentelli

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In “You Can Live Forever,” Jaime and Marike do many things teenagers in love do, like looking soulfully into each other’s eyes and making out in a car’s back seat. They also knock on doors to proselytize for the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Yeah, that last one is going to be a problem for budding lesbians.

Complicating matters further, Jaime (Anwen O’Driscoll) is a recent transplant to their small Quebec town and goes along for the religious ride only to be with Marike (June Laporte), a believer who was raised in “the Truth.”

The intersection of homosexuality and faith has been explored in film before — Sebastián Lelio’s “Disobedience,” set among the Orthodox Jewish community, is a high-profile recent example — and Mark Slutsky and Sarah Watts’s story benefits from being rooted in Watts’s own experience growing up gay in the 1990s. As if to underline that the film is set in that decade, Jaime never seems to take off her flannel and beanie, and kisses Marike to the sound of the Breeders; Gayle Ye’s cinematography is also a nice washed-up hue, as if bleached of bold colors — very true to the grunge sensibility.

Otherwise “You Can Live Forever” sticks to a fairly common coming-of-age trajectory. There is a sense of a missed opportunity in that we see the action through the eyes of Jaime, who is more accepting of her sexuality from the start, leaving Marike a tantalizing blank. She initiates every move with Jaime, only to segue into Bible study or a double date with boys. How does Marike rationalize this new love and her faith? Even the Breeders don’t have a song for that.

You Can Live Forever
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 36 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy on most major platforms.

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