The kind of minor foreign film that’s endearing and likeable once you give it a chance. We Are the Best! (Swedish, in English subtitles) is about three girls around age 13 looking to rebel, so they start a punk band. It’s 1982, and mohawks were the daring in thing to do. Of course, one of the girl’s mothers gets mad at the other two. Lucas Moodysson is the director of one devastating but important film called “Lilya 4-Ever” (2003), on the topical headlines sex slave trade. And two earlier light-hearted gems called “Show Me Love” (1998) about first lesbian love between high schoolers, and “Together” (2002), about a 70’s commune.
His new one isn’t going to splash waves, but if you’re interested this far, who cares? “We Are the Best!” is modest, doesn’t have a huge budget but is knowing about teens’ troubles, and funny when it comes to the music. It’s a small release that will be buried underneath a hundred louder movies this summer, but it’s a nice and refreshing one.
One such funny scene is when the girls go to the subway terminal to panhandle because they need money for instruments. They don’t get as much as they need, but enough to spoil themselves on junk food. Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) is the leader of them, persevering despite being made fun of at school for her androgynous appearance. She has some confidence to overcome bullying, she’s a survivor. Klara (Mira Grosin) is the number two girl, and a little more musically talented. Third comer Hedvig (Live LeMoyne) has been unpopular at school because she is so musically gifted, and thus, alienated by for being a little smarty-pants. She’s so prissy, that yeah, it will be rebellious to shave her head!
The girls finally get a live audience, and the most touching revelation is that these girls are ultimately too sweet to be punk. But sure, they look like they’re having fun just playing the instruments. “We Are the Best!” is a throwback to the innocent times of the 1980’s.
The film is open for an exclusive engagement at the Nuart Theater in West Los Angeles, and in New York at both the the Angelika Film Center and Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.
102 Minutes. Unrated. Swedish in English subtitles.
FOREIGN FILM / MILD & CHARMING / NIGHTTIME GIGGLES
Film Cousins: “Show Me Love” (1998, Sweden); “The Wedding Singer” (1998); “School of Rock” (2003); “Garage Days” (2003, Australia).