We Are The Best!

Year: 2014
Production Co: Danmarks Radio
Director: Lukas Moodysson
Writer: Lukas Moodysson/Coco Moodysson
Cast: Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin, Liv LeMoyne

If you have any experience of Swede Lukas Moodysson's films, you might be steeling yourself for an unflinching look at hope-turned-tragedy like we got in Lilya 4 Ever – a film that enchants you as much as it makes you want to open your wrists.

Or you might be preparing for one of the most beautiful renditions of young love ever to grace a screen, like Fucking Åmål (or Show Me Love as it was called in the more censored west), years before Blue Is The Warmest Color did the same thing at Cannes.

We Are The Best! is just as sweet and lovable a rendition of Moodysson's favourite topic (teenage girls) as he's ever done, but it doesn't have either the gut-wrenching tragedy or the walk-on-clouds elation of his other movies, which is a bit of a letdown despite the high quality.

Tomboyish Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) is best friends with punk Klara (Mira Grosin, complete with spiky mohawk) in 1980s Stockholm. Teased at school, not interested in boys and wanting to rebel without really having anything to be angry about, the girls decide to form a punk band.

At first they don't consider the fact that they can't play any instruments an impediment, but after muscling their way into a community centre music studio and arbitrarily crashing drums and twanging a bass guitar, the girls are surprisingly taken in by their own stilly idea and decide to pursue it.

They can't really see a way forward until they spot Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), the straight-laced Christian girl who always seems to hang around at school by herself and gets bullied relentlessly for singing the same Christian song at the annual concert.

The girls approach the understandably skeptical Hedvig, and after warily agreeing to help them, they all start to enjoy themselves. Bobo and Klara see another point of view in life and the slightly repressed Hedvig comes to life with her new friends on their adventure. It culminates with the girls' first (very rough) gig at a nearby town that ends in true punk style, with Klara screaming abuse at the audience and a riot almost breaking out.

There's no real third act turning point, grand climactic idea or emotional urgency, it's just another beautiful portrait of young girls trying to find a place in the world and accepting themselves and each other. The three young leads are eager and exuberant rather then professional, and the film has a raw sweetness because of it.

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