Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
A coming-of-age story set in 1980’s Stockholm, which follows two best friends (and their newly recruited Christian acquaintance) as they attempt to form a punk band. Despite being bloody awful.
Director Lukas Moodysson brings a witty script to life performed by three talented young girls.
Mira Barkhammar – Bobo
Mira Grosin – Klara
Liv LeMoyne – Hedvig
Johan Liljemark – Kenneth
Mattias Wiberg – Roger
Jonathan Salomonsson – Ellis
Alvin Strollo – Mackan
What We Are The Best did was bring back feelings; feelings of independence. Freedom. Being happy. Days when the only crucial worry in my life was whom to label as my best friend, or whether or not to advance from Tesco’s own roll-on deodarant to Lynx Atlantis (because then I’d be a man if I used Lynx).
I was an odd kid.
Throughout the movie we see three teenage girls develop their interests in music – more specifically – punk music. Its all very naive and pure. There’s nothing dodgy or dangerous going on here, its simply three friends doing what we as adults nowadays fail spectacularly to do: embrace and enjoy life.
The whole brash attitude of the three girls is wonderful escapism; they go about doing things adults wouldn’t dare. One scene for example, sees the trio stood at the top of a train station escalator, asking each stranger who appears at the top for money. Strangely, this was a breath of fresh air; these days being a fully-grown (albeit 5ft 4) adult – pulling off an act like this wouldn’t even cross my mind. As I sat watching the characters do it, I felt envious – wished I was young again.
..later on, the girls don’t get enough money for a new guitar so their first thought of what to do with the money?.. spend the entire lot on food. They subsequently end up back at Hedvig’s apartment, squeezing chocolate sauce over ice cream whilst dipping potato chips in. This whole naivety, innocence of childhood brought back fond memories for myself as well as being able to lose myself in the escapism of it all. I adored this element of the movie.
They’re bloody fantastic at acting aren’t they. It is literally as if there’s no camera in front of them, their talents are admirable – and these girls were no exception.
Barkhammar, Grosin and LeMoyne deliver the story effortlessly, acting literally as if no camera was filming them. Complete naturals. Another reason why I found it easy to get lost in the action on screen – the authenticity of it was like sitting back and having a reality TV show wash over me. When you look at British TV shows – Outnumbered for example – there is something slightly distant about the children. Oh, they deliver where they’re supposed to of course and make the audience laugh, its just their inability to lie (being just innocent little children) means they can’t ‘lie’ (act) properly for the camera.
But then you have foreign TV shows – where the children have so much passion in their blood, such firm enthusiasm which they channel directly into their performance, and it shows. Note that I’m not labelling all English young actors as distant – but a good percentage are. Why is there such a difference in style between English and foreign child actors? Perhaps there’s something in the water. I mean Christ, look at the difference in overall culture.
Before going to see We Are The Best, I honestly thought the three main characters were boys. I’ve never seen such masculine-looking females (apart from some of the lesbian dynamic I’ve encountered in gay bars which have genuinely frightened me). I know the characters are young teenagers, but I couldn’t believe the issue of them resembling boys never came up.
A scene near the beginning of the movie sees Klara and Bobo sat round a classroom table with two fellow schoolmates; the subject of conversation being the pair’s dated style. I mentioned foreign kids being great performers – even the two schoolmates carry out a natural and realistic display (though they both radiate a sort of shrunken ‘breakfast television presenter’ image). Anyway – the issue of being a ‘tomboy’ never arises, which I was slightly surprised about. At one point of the movie, Bobo moand to Klara, “I’ll never get a boyfriend” – to which I immediately thought, ‘you probably would if you went to a gay bar’.
I found myself cringing in a few places, however enjoyable or endearing the movie was.
And it was all down to Klara. This mohawk-topped youngster was such an unbalanced, in-your-face character that she was often irritating – especially when screaming (yes – actually screaming) “HATE THE SPORT” into a microphone in a way she thought musical.
..she was basically tone deaf and awful.
But the ‘being young and free’ concept outweighed this slight niggle loads. Thank God.
Various shots of the Swedish capital are nicely used throughout the movie. From underground on the Metro to panning across inner-city streets and buildings, you certainly get an eyeful. The scene where Bobo and Klara meet up with their new ‘punk friends’ sees a few of them climb to the top of a very tall building – and from here you get a panoramic view of Stockholm mid-winter. Pink sky and snowfall add to the sleepy atmosphere, which is nice.
We Are The Best is 101 minutes of escapism.
It’s not an Oscar-worthy piece of cinema, but it is watchable and stirs a wonderful feeling of youthfulness during its screen time.
I relished the carefree attitude the production radiated, which dissolved my adult inhibitions for a little while as I remembered how good it felt to be young.
This is one to let wash over you without having to concentrate too hard.
It is subtitled so you can easily follow what’s happening between the characters too.
Give it a go if you like world cinema – you’ll probably enjoy it.