Today: May 29, 2024

We Are The Best!

We Are the Best! is one of those feel-good films that has universal appeal – everyone’s been a teenager and at some point felt awkward, weird and misunderstood. It’s a film that captures that in-between age so perfectly that it puts a smile on your face and holds it there. Perhaps it seems so believable because it’s based on the graphic novel by Coco Moodysson (the director’s wife) and her own experiences as a teenager in Stockholm in the early 80s. 

We’re introduced to two 13-year-old girls, Bobo and Klara, best friends with matching, androgynous haircuts and a shared love of punk music just when it had fallen out of fashion. Between them, they’re misunderstood and even overlooked by their parents – particularly Clara, who is left alone to toast fish fingers for dinner whilst her mum’s on the pull. They accidentally form a band just to spite some older boys at the local youth centre, but soon realise that they need someone who can actually play an instrument. They recruit the shy, born-again Christian, Hedwig, who can play guitar and sing like a folk balladeer. All they have to do now is turn her on to punk, and chop off her blonde locks…

Lukas Moodysson has returned to the upbeat, off-kilter style that we embraced whole-heartedly in his 2000 film Together. In the words of the director himself, “I felt that in all the darkness that surrounds us I wanted to make a happy little movie that winked and glistened, and told us that life isn’t entirely impossible.” He’s certainly succeeded with We Are The Best! and his sense of fun and ability to tease out naturalistic performances is put to good use. The three young leads seem effortless in their portrayal of rebellion and friendship (and loneliness); the competitiveness, the one-week crushes, the sense of adventure and self-pity are all captured with impeccable timing and thankfully the performances never veer into ‘annoying brat’ territory. The adults are supporting roles but Moodysson allows himself a little cheeky fun with their characters too.

If you ever wanted to start a band, if you ever hung out with your friends past curfew, if you ever used swear words that you didn’t understand then this film is for you; if only to remind you that when you were young, anything seemed possible…

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