Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make the most impact. They hold us close, comfort our soul and whisper in our ears that they love us. It’s often these simple things that we take for granted, always reaching for something that feels bigger, bolder and more obviously poignant, and yet it can be within these simple things that we find the biggest, boldest, most poignant impact.
The same can be said for film. Oftentimes films are convinced that beating us over the head with their views and ‘importance’ is the way to our hearts, or at least to our memories, but sometimes it is that film with a simple message told in a simple manner that contains the most heart and soul, and the one that reaches us deeper than we ever expected it to.
‘We Are the Best!’ is that kind of film.
I’ve said many times that children and stories about children fascinate me. They reach to the core of me. They find a soft corner of my heart and they blossom. Now that my eldest daughter is getting older (my GOD, she’s inching closer and closer to those double digits), stories about adolescence are starting to work their way in there as well. ‘We Are the Best!’ is one of those soft-hearted yet boldly idealistic portrayal of honest adolescence that makes me smile ear to ear and hope and pray that my children, but daughter’s especially, grow up into the young women THEY want to become. All that prodding and pulling every direction, all that well intentioned guidance and advice and coddling is to be expected because we’re parents and we love them and we want the best for them, but at the end of the day, I want my girls to be THEM and only them and never what they think I or their mother or anyone else wants them to be.
So, when anyone tells my daughter than “PUNK IS DEAD”, or anything to that nature, I hope she flips them the bird and PROVES THEM WRONG!
‘We Are the Best!’ takes place in Stockholm and revolves around two young girls who are somewhat outcasts because of their lack of conformity to the stylings and likings of the in-crowd. They don’t fit in much at home either, at odds with what their parents want from them and constantly feeling as if they’re taken for granted and not even heard. And then, on a whim, they decide to form a band. It’s really a complete whim, something that forms out of the burstings of their heartstrings; a desire repressed yet always lingering that consumes them at the same moment to where, despite ignored consequences, they just go for it. It is then, through their rushed yet well intentioned music, that these girls (now ‘three’, thanks to the adoption of another outcast) find something special within themselves.
I feel like the topic of misogyny comes up a lot when film is discussed. I personally got engaged in the conversation this week. It’s not really a reality you can ignore, especially when you glance over the array of male-centric films that are force fed to the populous on a daily basis. The wonderful thing about a little film like ‘We Are the Best!’ is that is takes a genre and even a subject that could have, and most likely would have normally been centered around boys and makes it a matter of female empowerment. What is even better is that this film doesn’t make this ABOUT girls as much as it makes it about growing up, regardless of sex. In fact, the girls themselves stress at one point that they are NOT a girl band. In this way, this film proves that you can make a film featuring strong female characters that aren’t there because the story RELIES on it. For me, we need more films that integrate male and female roles in this way, because there are so many stories that don’t demand a specific sex in the lead. Let’s give more of these roles to women!
And what astonishing child performances from the three talented young ladies! Mira Barkhammar anchors this film with such beautifully composed honesty. You can sense the inner struggle she faces to be herself, to be who she feels is swelling in her heart that is looking for any way to escape, and it reads so effortlessly on her face. For me though, her two co-stars really steal the show. Liv LeMoyne handles Hedvig’s flowering beautifully, with such attention to the smallest detail, and Mira Grosin (who I demand become a HUGE star) is so organic here, so natural in all of her detailings of Klara. She gets everything right, from the attitude to the immaturity to the honest childlike emotions. She lights up every scene and, for me, possessed the strongest character development.
Such a beautiful performance.
Lukas Moodysson deserves major credit for making this story as fluid and as universally compelling as he did. It would have been easy to make this a gender thing, to pander to the obvious and beat things over the head, and yet there are so many moments when we forget we’re talking about three girls in a boys world; we’re just watching three kids finding themselves in their world, because this world does belong to all of us.
I give this a solid A, verging on an A+. The more I think about this movie the more I absolutely adore it. It really is such a breath of fresh air, and so delicately and honestly delivered.