Tribeca Review: Don’t You Let Me Go


Death isn’t an easy concept for most people to deal with. It’s an inevitability, but it’s something that people try to block out of their heads until it actually happens. When it does, coming to terms with and accepting it can be a challenge, something that Don’t You Let Me Go tries to explore in detail. It’s a film that dedicates its entire intro to the process of grieving before magically taking us back to a better time and seeing why we grieve as much as we do when a loved one dies. For as much as I can empathize with a film that wants to depict such a vulnerable human experience, Don’t You Let Me Go feels a bit too aimless at times for its own good. 

Review: Don't You Let Me Go

Don’t You Let Me Go
Director: Ana Guevara, Leticia Jorge
Release Date: June 8, 2024 (Tribeca Film Festival)

The film opens up with Adela (Chiara Hourcade) attending a funeral. She’s mourning over her dead best friend, Elena (Victoria Jorge), and the first third of the movie is an intimate look at the effect Elena’s death is having on everyone attending. Most people cry, some try to think back to positive memories of her, while others rage at the people in charge of the funeral services in order to make sure everything is perfect. Adela confides in others that she’s devastated by this because she loved Elena so much, and she doesn’t mean platonically. She had unrequited feelings for her friend and wished she could just spend more time with her and tell her how she truly felt. But now she can’t. 

Enter a magical bus that takes Adela back in time to a weekend getaway she once took with Elena to a quiet little house away from the city. How and why does this bus transfer her back in time? It doesn’t matter. It’s a literal vehicle for the movie to get to the core of the film, that being that people grieve as much as they do because of how much they love one another. You can’t have the good with the bad and the impact of Elena’s death only hurts Adela as much as it does because of how much Adela likes her. 

The point is conveyed pretty easily by Don’t You Let Me Go. It was a smart move to start the film with the death of Elena to then have the story peel back to reveal the extent of their friendship. By the time the film ends, you really do understand why these two were close friends and why Adela is finding it so hard to let her go. During that weekend, we see the pair read books, clean, cook, get into a few weird misadventures, and just behave the way the friends do. The bond they share is genuine and the film excels at showing it. But then the movie just keeps going even after it makes its point. And going. And going. And going.

The pacing of the movie during this weekend getaway feels lackadaisical, which is kind of the point, but it’s a very fine line between easygoing and aimless that Don’t You Let Me Go struggles to find. At first, seeing the little moments between the two women is quaint, but when it keeps on going you can’t help but feel the film is reinforcing an idea that was already firmly established within ten minutes and it has nothing else to stand on. There is a moment towards the end of the film where Adela is reminded of the reality she lives in – Elena is still fated to die – and that changes her outlook on this magical vacation, but it comes a bit too late for the film to truly do anything with. In the end, the film shrugs and says not to think about that fact too much and to just enjoy the moment, affirmed by the ending sequence where the two women and their mutual friend go on a quiet boat ride together as the credits begin to roll.

I found that ending odd, but somewhat fitting with the detachment from reality that Don’t You Let Me Go is going for. Overall, this isn’t a movie about logic, but rather a movie about happiness and why we grieve when a person dies. Emotionally, the movie succeeds on all levels but fails to keep the viewer consistently engaged with what’s happening. Once Don’t You Let Me Go makes its point, it could have moved on to depicting the full process of grieving, but instead feels like a surface-level examination of the topic. It’s still a nice film, but it’s one that very easily could have been better if it wanted to offer a more complete picture of how a person copes with the death of a loved one.




Don't You Let Me Know has a rock solid emotional core that explores grief and happiness, but doesn't know what to do once it's made it's point.

Jesse Lab
The strange one. The one born and raised in New Jersey. The one who raves about anime. The one who will go to bat for DC Comics, animation, and every kind of dog. The one who is more than a tad bit odd. The Features Editor.