Netflix’s new coming-of-age drama ‘I’m No Longer Here‘ is about a 17-year-old boy who struggles with isolation and home-sickness after he is forced to leave his hometown. Throughout its runtime, the film uses dance and music as a narrative device to portray what the character is going through. Along with that, even the incredible performances of its cast cross language barriers and communicate its storyline not through words, but actions. Since its story feels extremely grounded to reality, one can’t help but wonder where it draws its inspiration from. Here’s the answer to that.
Is I’m No Longer Here Based on a True Story?
No, ‘I’m No Longer Here’ is not based on a true story but one big reason why it succeeds as coming-of-age drama is because of the relatability of its themes and the utter realism of its characters. Pretty much like many other well-known Indie flicks out there, ‘I’m No Longer Here’ harps on the simplicity of its ideas to lure viewers. At its onset, it first brings in a very realistic depiction of a counter-culture group that jams to slowed-down cumbia music.
Draped in baggy clothes and with hair styled in the eccentric ways, the group creates a very unique identity for itself which is very well appreciated by others. The film’s portrayal of this cross-culture itself feels very real as it focuses on all the details surrounding it. In turn, this allows you to very well understand why the main character feels so congenial towards this cultural identity. In an interview, the creator of the movie Fernando Frias further explained this by saying: “I wanted to first understand and then go beyond the looks of these kids and the deeper I went, the more I kept finding relevant elements for the story.”
Adding to this, the director also mentioned how he willingly chose to keep the premise of the film quite simple as stories with too many elements often lose subtlety. He also explained how the movie came into shape based on his own perceptions and learnings of the world that he depicts in it. During his research, he took pictures of places and people to be able to traverse that into his writing. “The music, places, clothes, colors, and what made everything blend together in the best possible way to tell the story with the tone and rhythm we were going for,” he said.
Apart from its diverse palette and representation of local culture, what truly grabs one attention is its depiction of the life of an immigrant. Instead of just taking a one-dimensional look at the snags of immigrants in the US, the film deeply studies this theme by involving the perspective of two different characters. One, obviously, is its main character Ulises while the other one is a Chinese girl named Lin. With this, the film is not only able to use the theme of immigration to simply tell a story but also delivers a deep, relatable message—Time changes everything and one can either adapt to it or go through the painful struggle of resisting it.
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