NZIFF Online Movie Review – Mi Vida (2019)

A retired Dutch hairdresser attempts to fulfil her lifelong dream of starting over in the Andalusian port city of Cádiz.
JulieGJuly 29, 202016 min
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Part of the NZIFF Online 2020 List of Films

IMDb Rating: 6.9/10

1h 28min | Comedy, Drama | 21 Nov 2019 (Netherlands) | Movie


Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 

Director: Norbert ter Hall

Writer: Roos Ouwehand

Stars: Elvira Mínguez, Anniek Pheifer, Diewertje Dir, Loes Luca

Movie Tagline:  “Just being alive isn’t living”…

IMDb summary: A retired Dutch hairdresser attempts to fulfil her lifelong dream of starting over in the Andalusian port city of Cádiz.

“Mi Vida” is Spanish for “My Life” and this sums up exactly what this film is about – life and living one’s life for yourself. It’s about self-discovery, knowing and understanding your place in the world and learning about yourself in the best way possible.

The film begins with a woman named Lou played wonderfully by Dutch actress Loes Luca who now finds herself in Cádiz, Spain after she began a journey to “reinvent” herself. While it seems like reinvention is a fairly normal thing to want to do, particularly after Lou’s recent hard life experiences, it’s really more about finding yourself than reinventing yourself.

And what Lou discovers during her time in Spain is that she has been living a life that has mostly revolved around other people. She hasn’t really rewarded herself with the freedom that life should have – the freedom to live where you want, how you want, and with whom. She has always just “been there” for everyone else but herself. This is the heart of what this film is about, and it’s an amazing journey.


What makes this story so unique is that Lou is Dutch and is trying to learn how to speak Spanish. Her foremost reason for travelling to Spain is as a self-learning experience learning how to speak Spanish. But through the course of the film, you can see just how much Lou changes with each person she meets, and how much more enriched her life becomes. Leaving her family behind with their troubles and stress is just what Lou needed.

Lou is a delightful character. She is open, friendly and willing to try just about anything to experience something she hasn’t done before. At 64 years of age, Lou is a breath of fresh air and proof that life is exactly what you make of it, no matter what your age.

The setting for the film is breathtaking, and the scenery really adds that much more to the experience of our principal character. The beauty surrounding Lou in Cádiz is only one of many reasons she makes a life-changing decision, despite the limitations she feels are being put on her by herself and her family.

Mi Vida is an uplifting and a moving story of life, self-discovery and moving beyond life’s limitations.


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