Thursday, June 19, 2014

When in doubt, form a band

In We Are the Best!, Swedish director Lukas Moodysson adapts his wife Coco's graphic novel to tell the story of three alienated Stockholm teen-agers during the 1980s. The movie introduces us to Bobo (Mira Barkhammer) and Klara (Mira Grosin), best friends in middle school, which (of course) they hate. Why? Because Bobo and Klara are dedicated oddballs who insist on being repulsed by their peers. Despite a discernible lack of talent, Bobo and Klara decide to form a punk band. Klara, the more adventurous of the two, seems to believe that a strong will is all that's needed to accomplish their musical goal. Klara will play bass; Bobo is assigned to be the band's drummer. Eventually, the girls recruit an unlikely ally, the strait-laced Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), a girl who knows how to play guitar, but who's also a serious Christian. The adults, of course, are mostly clueless. Bobo's single mom (Anna Rydgren) seems typical: She's no ogre, but she's caught up in the problems of an apparently futile love life. If you're looking for a story full of momentus drama, look elsewhere. The kids in this movie do what kids do: They hang out, argue about bands, try to party above their weight class and act as if nothing could be more important than their own predilections. Eliciting entirely credible performances from his young cast, Moodyson (Show Me Love, Lilya 4-Ever, and Together) gives both the '80s and unfocused teen rebellion an enjoyable sense of life.

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