Living is Easy With Eyes Closed, named after the opening lines of “Strawberry Fields”, is a movie about hope. Set in 1960s Spain, the film revolves around schoolteacher Antonio (Javier Cámara), teenage runaway Juanjo (Francesc Colomer) , and a young, unwed pregnant woman named Belen (Natalia de Molina ) at a point in time when their lives intersect for a bit.
All of the characters share one trait: an inability to accept the harsh reality of their daily lives which manifests in a sort of idealism, causing them to seek the beauty and softer side of life.
For Antonio, this means escaping into Beatles lyrics (which he teaches to his English students) and dreaming of meeting John Lennon. Belen, on the other hand, wants to make her own choices regarding if and where she raises her child, while Juanjo rebels against an authoritarian father.
They all meet by chance while traveling, and soon all characters become invested in Antonio’s goal of meeting up with John (who is in Spain to film a movie) in Almería. The trio meet many characters in their travels, seeing some of the more brutal and also more beautiful sides of life. The Spanish scenery is breathtaking throughout, with mountain panoramas and sandy, sprawling beaches intertwined with colonial homes and vintage cars. In one scene, Belen grills sardines over an open fire on a beach, and even this is visually striking.
By the time the movie closes, all of the characters must go back to their lives, but as an audience, we see a gentle change in each of them. Their journeys have given them inner fortitude, and they now realize that life is a series of choices. We can live our lives brutally, or we can fill our lives with kindness and hope.
Overall, I really appreciated this movie and enjoyed it. There are so many clichés it could easily fall into, as it is a movie set in the 1960s about the Beatles. However, each character is developed fully, and we see love in all of its forms (rather than just romantic love). It always remains fresh, emotional, and poignant. For this reason, this film is an instant classic, and hopefully will obtain recognition in the U.S.