Saturday 27 December 2014

Review: We Are the Best!

Year: 2013 (2014 U.K Theatrical release)
Director: Lukas Moodysson
Screenplay: Lukas Moodysson
Starring: Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin, Liv LeMoyne

Synopsis is here


Lukas Moodysson broke this blogger's heart 12 years ago, with his brutally engrossing coming of age drama: Lilya 4-ever (2002). This was a film with such little compromise, that it's taken me over a decade to gain the courage to even place it near the top of my re-watch pile. It's the type of film that you need to be in a "good" place for, before you consider watching.

Moodysson has kept busy with very particular, left field offerings, but his latest entry; We Are the Best, appears to be his most accessible since Lilya 4-ever. Despite having the same unyielding temperament with similar dispassionate settings, Moodysson is clearly coming in this coming of age story (based on a graphic novel by his wife Coco), with a lighter, more joyous attitude.

At first there doesn't seem to be too much to We Are the Best. Three teenage girls from Stockholm look to form a punk band, despite holding limited knowledge of their instruments and forming with little more than their outsider status. Moodysson has never really been one for intricate plots, but as a filmmaker who considers himself a feminist, he really knows how to get a hold of his young female characters. What we notice about We Are the Best is Moodsson joyfully using these outcasts illustrate female unity as well as touch about the director's own feelings on religion and politics.

The 1982 setting is perfect for a film which is looking at how we observe particular subjects now. A group of women who are; like so many girls their age, gaining interest in boys, media and drinking. Yet the characters indulgence for left leaning socio-political punk and the conversations and overall acceptance of the Hedvig; the Christian lead guitarist, as well their bonding despite their differences, speaks volumes about what Moodysson find important within the coming of age sub-genre.

The sight of seeing these girls form a friendship because of their music and despite what others feel about them is genuinely heartening to the soul. The three leads are all so enjoyable in their roles, that we quickly realise that much like so much Punk music, the music itself isn't the most important aspect, it's the togetherness. When the grown-ups just don't understand, it's always been the rambunctious of your peers that will get you through. Moodysson has made a film to happily remind us.