If, like me, you have been disappointed and disturbed by the recent films of Lukas Moodysson, then you will be delighted to know that We Are the Best! is a return to form.
The Swedish filmmaker won a devoted following with his first feature, Show Me Love, a funny and surprising tale of teen girls in love in small town Sweden. He then launched into dark and experimental territory. For his newest film, he adapted his wife Coco's autobiographical graphic novel. Moodysson has stopped trying to hit his audience over the head with a message and just let the girls of We Are the Best! charm and entertain us. Bobo is the thoughtful girl, a little jealous of her wild friend Klara. Both come from bohemian families and are allowed to do pretty much whatever they want. Their band starts when some older boys condescend to them at the local youth centre. They sign up to use the rehearsal space and their musical careers are born.
The two girls mostly laugh and bang on the drums, singing their one song, Hate the Sport, based on dislike for their gym teacher. But when they see conservative Hedwig (she's a Christian, which they think is hilarious) playing classical guitar like a pro in the school concert, they recruit her to join the band. She teaches them a bit about music, gets a radical haircut and makes friends for the first time. Together the girls try to share their message, get drunk, meet punk boys and generally have a blast.
Yes, this is a feel good film. But as well as being funny and affirming, it has a lot of say about the joys and pains of being a adolescent, especially being a girl who doesn't quite conform. It also is wonderful portrayal of Scandinavian society where everyone is supposed to be allowed to express themselves and be treated equally.
It plays until June 5th at the Vancity Theatre in Vancouver and in other cities across North America. Seriously, don't miss it.