WE ARE THE BEST | MOVIE REVIEW

WE ARE THE BEST, a film I have been so keen on seeing for sooooooo long. I first saw the trailer and was hooked on it. I booked a ticket to see it at the Sydney Film Festival, got sick and missed it, it was out for another festival, was double booked and had to miss it, it had media screenings, I was away and tried to get others to it, got one of the Kernels into a screening, they got caught up at work, we missed it. I nearly gave up and pleaded for other Kernels to go to the screening. Low and behold, Hyo had already seen it. So she offered up a review and here it is ladies and gents. You will miss this one from cinemas, but keep your eyes out for it on Blu Ray, DVD, LEGAL downloads, you will love it. All the best…………JK.

 

WE ARE THE BEST movie image
WE ARE THE BEST | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | BOBO (MIRA BARKHAMMAR), KLARA (MIRA GROSIN) AND HEDVIG (LIV LEMOYNE)

 

REVIEW BY HYO-JIN SHIMThis film is a story based on a biographical work, a graphic novel by Coco Moodysson, the director’s (Lukas Moodysson) wife, about the misadventures of three adolescent girls in a post-punk Sweden, before the “Greed is Good” era had set in during the 1980s.

These 12-year-old girls hungry to experience life, despite their young age, decide to take no prisoners as they are ready to rock the world with their bold punk music and take on anyone or anything in their way.

Two girls, Bobo (Barkhammar) and Klara (Grosin) form a punk band as a response to their school and home life. With neither the musical technique nor experience, they decide to play and breathe the punk aesthetic without fear nor obstacles.

Klara, the alpha-female leads the way, yells into the afternoon as singer/guitarist whilst Bobo, the more subdued friend bangs and kicks away at the drums. The soundtrack has a few punchy pearlers – “We are the prettiest girls” and ‘Hate the Sport” – their lyrics are witty, raw and certainly drives it home.

 

WE ARE THE BEST MOVIE IMAGE
WE ARE THE BEST | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | BOBO (MIRA BARKHAMMAR), KLARA (MIRA GROSIN) AND HEDVIG (LIV LEMOYNE)

 

After attending a lacklustre school concert, the girls decide to recruit the talented singer/guitarist, Hedvig, who has the skills they’re after, she is equally disassociated from the monolith of school culture living out their dross teenage lives in the small cool-climate Swedish town. Bobo and Klara toy with her, first eat lunch with her, then invite themselves over to the girl’s home one night. Incidentally, Klara decides to trim Hedvig’s hair – but more like randomly chopping strands off to give her an initiation as the new band member, stylishly confronting with short and spiky hair (very anti-establishment and playfully liberating at the same time).

The story unfolds as the girls explore with frolicking freedom the trial and tribulations of teenagedom, exploring self-expression through the daily subversion of their conformist lives.

Without strong delivery of a script, you have something short of a sterling performance, however it was with Moodysson’s direction of his talent that made it enjoyable – he let them improvise which made it all too convincing. And, these fine young actors lifted the standard characters into the vivid portrayals of young girls, hungry to subvert everything life has to offer – their voices, their bodies, music, fashion, boys and more interestingly, friendships. The complexity of teenage relationships are examined in this film, there are some awkward scenarios between the girls, they learn to work with the clashing personalities, with their differing family settings and parenting styles. The delightful part of being an audience is to work through the pains from a distance, to relive these experiences are comical, maybe not for others – who knows – we just know we are no longer naive to such events and it’s some of those memories that stay with us for the whole lifecycle. Which is why Moodysson hopes to inspire more music-making during the teenage years – it is a creative catharsis, a fond memory, a sense of liberation during a relatively risk-free time in your life (when only your parents will judge you).

 

WE ARE THE BEST movie image
WE ARE THE BEST | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | BOBO (MIRA BARKHAMMAR), KLARA (MIRA GROSIN) AND HEDVIG (LIV LEMOYNE)

 

The last few scenes show the young liberated debasers sober up into young adulthood, they have come a long way since banging snares and cymbals, screaming loud lyrics into the peaceful silence – these girls are empowered, aware and equipped with seething maturity. Barkhammer (Bobo), Grosin (Klara) and LeMoyne (Hedvig) are impressively verbose when interviewed upon the international release in 2013, they were able to compare self-expression, sex and politics of their time back to the 6s0, 70s and 80s.

I loved this film as did my companions, we were all inspired by the idea that individuals (young/old, male or female) can empower themselves with some good ol’ punk rock music with lyrics that just says it like it is – raw, honest and brutally “in yer face”. After a hiatus in filmmaking, Moodysson (originally a poet) had adapted Coco’s story into a film about growing up in Sweden and he successfully captured the essence of her unkempt spirit, and now the audience gets a little peep into why he fell for her. I find this to be a lovely gesture and the far-reaching audience around the world can delight in the romance and freedom of youth expressing themselves with fashion and music.

 

WE ARE THE BEST MOVIE IMAGE
WE ARE THE BEST | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | BOBO (MIRA BARKHAMMAR), KLARA (MIRA GROSIN) AND HEDVIG (LIV LEMOYNE)

 

Decisions on the wardrobe, hair and makeup in films are all important factors when creating a filmic nuance or mis-en-scene, the residue or resonance of a cult film results into a particular “look”, whether it be a character or a theme. When successful, it will often be repeated by the fans (and future filmmakers) at every opportunity (think Rocky Horror Picture Show, Edward Scissorhands, Barbarella and so forth). This punk aesthetic features heavy eyeliner, spiky and shaved heads, boyish culottes and with unique preloved clothing. It’s the look that gives off the attitude of a birdy and the anarchistic freedom of the punk, without even exchanging a word or making a sound.

The film was in the official selection for the 2013 Venice Film Festival and the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

Comparing it with other films about young feminists or adolescent empowerment, I can liken this to TANK GIRL, HEATHERS, MARIE ANTOINETTE/VIRGIN SUICIDES (Sofia Coppola), THE YOUNG ONES and others. Overall, I see this as Moodysson’s tribute to the punk rock movement popularised in the early 1980s UK and European band and fashion circles (Vivienne Westwood, Siouxsie Sioux, Lydia Lunch, Bow Wow Wow and the Chelsea girls).

You will be delighted as both young and old,  “I hope at least one 12-year-old girl will go see it and start a band!!” (Moodysson, 2014).

 

5 Pops