Film Review: ‘I’m No Longer Here’

This Netflix movie is intensely relatable for music fans – but the story goes much deeper.

i'm no longer here review

I’m No Longer Here is a Netflix film about a group of Mexican teenagers who live and breathe for cumbia music. They are a dance crew who call themselves the Terkos – which means stubborn, obstinate. Our protagonist, Ulises, brings the Terkos attitude with him when he is forced to cross the United States border.

Anyone who’s been a teenager can recall what it’s like to be stubborn and obstinate (or even to wear those qualities as a badge of honor). It’s the first way in which I’m No Longer Here celebrates the elements that connect youth cultures across boundaries of time and geography.

This visually stunning film will spark a litany of cultural associations in your mind. The Terkos’ dance style reminded me of the ska dance known as skanking. The peacock-esque hairstyles in I’m No Longer Here reminded me of high school friends who used toothpaste to sculpt their hair into mohawks that reached for the ceiling. Lastly, the Terkos reminded me of the Charolastras – the juvenile brotherhood in Alfonso Cuarón’s 2001 masterpiece Y tu mamá también.

The soul of this film runs much deeper than the surface. Like its style, the film’s painful immigration story feels at once both personal and universal. At one point, a friend reminds Ulises: many others have experienced this pain before you. Rarely have I felt so thoroughly transplanted into the shoes of a character who has been torn from his home.

The only thing about I’m No Longer Here that’s too familiar is its title. There are recent films named I’m Not Here, I’m Still Here, You Were Never Really Here, and so on. Let’s put a wrap on this trite title template.

I’m No Longer Here is an emotionally stirring and visually stunning film with a soulful lead performance. The culture depicted may be unique to Monterrey, Mexico – but the bold expression and youthful passion of these characters has universal resonance.

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