[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00KB1RQXM][/pullquote] Lukas Moodysson came to prominence with bittersweet comedy drama Together in 2000. But any ideas that he’d continue in a quirky, funny direction were quickly shattered by Lily 4 Ever and A Hole in My Heart which were very powerful, but almost unbearably hard to watch. But with We Are The Best! It seems that he has returned to the ground in which he first made his name. After all, how grueling could a movie an exclamation mark in its title be?
It’s Stockholm, 1982 and most people are under the impression that punk is dead. But 13 year old best friends Bobo and Klara know better. As a result, they are not hugely popular at school, but they don’t really care. After all, most people are conservatives at best, or fascists, or worse of all, metallers.
One day at the youth centre, irritated by the hair metal band using the rehearsal space, they sign up to use the room themselves and quickly decide to form a punk band, unconcerned by minor issues such as a complete inability to play instruments, or sing. They do have a superb knack for lyrics though, quickly writing the song ˜Hate sports’ which is perfect in its capturing their characters “ politically engaged and a bit precocious, but also hopelessly naÃ¯ve. Sample lyrics include: ˜Around the world children scream / You just care about the basketball team.’
Plotwise, We Are The Best! is low-key but no less enjoyable for it. Key developments include the girls’ attempts to recruit a third member of the band (a girl called Hedvig who can actually play guitar, and who is a social outcast too, due to her Christian beliefs “ but Bobo and Klara feel confident they can convert her to atheism through the medium of anti-religious punk bands). There is also a falling out over a boy, various run-ins with the youth group with the youth centre leaders, and the tedious necessity of dealing with parents. If this were a Hollywood movie there would inevitably be a Battle of the Bands competition, and a will-they-won’t-they triumph storyline. But here, there’s just a gig in another shit youth club with an antagonistic audience who are just baffled and annoyed by the 13 year old girls with mohicans who are onstage yelling at them.
And We Are The Best! is all the better for its lack of adornments and elaborate plot arc. The characters are superbly drawn and the movie is beautifully warm and funny. Best of all, it perfectly captures that moment in teenage life when you are both hopelessly uncertain of so many things, but also absolutely, defiantly certain of many others.