You And Me Forever (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/12/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 82 mins

Sharply observed and superbly directed, this is an emotionally engaging Danish coming-of-age drama with terrific performances from all three young leads.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Kaspar Munk (and heavily improvised in collaboration with the cast, working from a 30 page outline), You and Me Forever is set in small-town present-day Denmark and stars Julie Andersen as sixteen year old Laura, who is inseparable from her best friend Christine (Emilie Kruse). However, when sexually experienced new girl Maria (Frederrike Dahl Hansen) arrives at school, Laura finds herself captivated by her hedonistic tales of having lived in New York and her various experiences with boys (and girls), and inexplicably ends her friendship with Christine.

Rejected by Maria, Christine begins hanging out with Jonas (Benjamin Wandschneider), a school outcast she had previously dismissed when he showed an interest in Laura. Meanwhile, Maria decides to help Laura lose her virginity and takes her clubbing in the big city where they meet a pair of older boys (Allan Hyde and Cyron Melville).

The Good
All three leads deliver terrific performances that are often painfully recognisable, perfectly capturing both the agonies and ecstasies of adolescence. Andersen is particularly good as Laura, who's struggling to work out who she is, while Kruse brings unexpected emotional depth to Christine, who initially comes across as shallow and a little bossy.

One of the things that stands out about the film is that your sympathies constantly shift in regard to each of the characters: it's rare, for example, to have a female lead in a coming-of-age film who behaves the way Laura does to Christine, and the film is much stronger for it. In addition, Munk and his young cast resist the usual clichés and steer commendably clear of sentimentality, allowing the expected coming-of-age staple scenes to play out in unexpected ways that feel real (presumably a benefit of the improvisation process).

The Great
On top of that, the camerawork, courtesy of cinematographer Søren Bay, is superb, with frequent, tight close-ups that heighten the sense of intimacy and immediacy surrounding Laura. Indeed, the only real issue with the film is that it's occasionally overly serious in tone, although that does mean that the brief moments when the characters are enjoying themselves (notably a lovely montage involving Christine and Jonas) really stand out.

Worth seeing?
Impressively directed and superbly acted, You and Me Forever is an engaging and sharply observed coming-of-age drama that commendably avoids the usual clichés and paints an often uncomfortably recognisable portrait that captures the intensity of teenage friendship. Recommended.

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Content updated: 20/10/2017 11:47

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