We Are The Best! (Vi Ar Bast!) (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/10/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 102 mins

Delightful, uplifting Swedish comedy that marks a long-awaited return to the form of the likes of Show Me Love and Together for writer-director Lukas Moodysson, thanks to a warm-hearted, witty script and a trio of terrific performances from its three young leads.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Lukas Moodysson, We Are The Best! is based on the graphic novel Never Goodnight by Coco Moodysson (the director's wife) and is set in Stockholm in the early 80s. Mira Barkhammar and Mira Grosin star as punk-loving school outcasts Bobo and Klara, two 13 year old best friends who impulsively decide to form a punk band, despite the fact that neither of them knows how to play a musical instrument.

However, the girls find a kindred spirit in Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), a soon-to-be-beautiful classmate who is also something of an outcast at school (thanks to her devoutly religious family upbringing) but who plays a mean classical guitar. After chopping off Hedvig's blonde locks in an attempt to give her a punky haircut, the girls set their sights on playing a Christmas gig at a youth centre in another town, but their friendship is threatened when they meet two boys (Jonathan Salomonsson and Johan Liljemark) who are also in a punk band.

The Good
Barkhammar and Grosin are terrific as Bobo and Klara and their deep-seated friendship forms the emotional heart of the film. LeMoyne is equally good as level-headed Hedvig (her folk-style guitar playing and singing is rather wonderful) and there's strong support from the various adults, including Anna Rydgren as Bobo's looking-for-love single mother and David Dencik as Klara's goofy clarinet-playing dad, who attempts to jam with the girls.

The sweet-natured script is frequently very funny and Moodysson perfectly captures the highs and lows of adolescence, from first crushes (Bobo has a disastrous crush on Klara's older brother) to petty jealousies and attempting to stand out from the crowd. That said, the film enters worryingly predictable territory when the boys appear, which is a shame, as the girls and their band are much more interesting than the potential relationship stuff.

The Great
The film is beautifully shot, courtesy of cinematographer Ulf Brantås, who makes striking use of some wintery Stockholm locations – there's an image of Bobo on a snow-covered rooftop that is simply gorgeous. There's also a superb soundtrack packed with Scandinavian punk songs, though the highlights in that department are the girls' made-up-on-the-spot song about hating P.E., Hedvig's beautiful folk song and a number by the boys they meet that goes “Reagan, Brezhnev – FUCK OFF!”

On top of that, Moodysson orchestrates a number of wonderful sequences (such as the girls cutting Hedvig's hair and the bollocking they get from her mother) and the film builds to a suitably punky climax that seems entirely appropriate.

Worth seeing?
Charming, sweet-natured and superbly acted, We Are the Best! is a welcome return to feelgood form for writer-director Lukas Moodysson. Highly recommended.

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We Are The Best! (Vi Ar Bast!) (12A)
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Content updated: 20/10/2017 22:45

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