“We Are the Best!” (2013)
The film opens up in a Stockholm apartment in 1982, where a 13 year old girl named Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) is having to endure a party celebrating her mom’s (Anna Rydgren) fortieth birthday. Clearly bored, Bobo is stuck in the corner being forced to listen to adults talk politics and taxes, all the while seeing her mother get hoisted above the crowd in celebration. Bobo has to run a gauntlet of drunken adults fawning over her hair and clothes as she makes a hasty retreat to her bedroom where she can escape the party with a cassette deck full of punk music.
Bobo and her best friend, the Mohawk wearing Klara (Mira Grosin) don’t fit in with the rest of their classmates. Where most of the girls are into bangs, big hair and spandex, the two girls are more into the environment and how big government is ruining the planet. The girls are used to being put down, whether by their fellow classmates or the members of a local teenage rock band. The girls attempt to find some solace at the local youth center but are assaulted musically by a heavy metal act practicing in the basement music room. The girls figure out a way to sign up for time in the music room and at that moment they decide to form a punk rock band.
The girls are told they are too late to join the school talent fest but seem happy sitting in the back of the auditorium making fun of the dance team do a routine to a “Missing Persons” song. They are then pleasantly surprised by Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), a Christian girl with musical talent, who comes onstage and begins beautifully playing a classical piece on the guitar. When the rest of the student body starts heckling her, Bobo and Klara realize that they have found a fellow outcast to join their band. Now they have their third piece of the puzzle and can make beautiful punk noise together.
Writer / director Lukas Moodysson, who adapted the screenplay from his wife Coco’s graphic novel, gives a spirited look at the lives of three girls using music to deal with their feelings of isolation and rebellion. The film perfectly intersperses Swedish punk music from the 70’s, and 80’s to give us insight into what the girls are thinking and feeling. Moodysson obviously enjoys the rambunctious spirit of the girls, letting the camera follow the girls around as they pinball from scene to scene. He has created three very distinct girls. Bobo is the peacemaker who is determined to keep the “Punk” way of life alive. Klara is ready for just about anything as long as she can have fun and give out opinions right and left. And Hedvig, a shy, reserved girl who quietly rebels against her parents, mostly in small, almost silent steps. Of the three girls, Hedvig has the most character growth in the film. It’s as if she was waiting for the opportunity to let her true self out.
The interplay between the three girls is marvelous, especially between Bobo and Klara, as Barkhammar and Grosin have perfect chemistry, almost finishing each other sentences. Grosin, as the outspoken Klara, gives a frenetic performance that almost explodes on the screen. LeMoyne, as the more restrained Hedvig, has a real talent for music, displaying both a singing and guitar playing talent, that helps ground the film in a bit of reality. It’s Barkhammar, as the troubled Bobo, that will make the audience want to root for and protect. She gives Bobo vulnerability as she tries to navigate the transition from being a kid to a young adult. There are times that Barkhammar lets Bobo become an adult, giving off the physical appearance of a college senior. Bobo is also forced to become the adult when she is dealing with her mother’s up and down relationships, taking care of her when they don’t work out. Other times, it seems as if Bobo is younger than her thirteen years, especially when dealing with the aspects of dating and liking boys. It’s a performance that wins you over from almost the first frame of the film.
“We Are the Best!” is a fun, joyous film that allows the audience to relive their youth, including the trials and tribulations of those teenage years. After all, when you are a teenager it’s a blast to make a little noise called music with your friends. My Take: I Would Pay to See it Again
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it AgainFollow @Lastonetoleave
The film is playing in Atlanta at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema