Punk musicians who can’t play their instruments? Join the club!
In 1980’s Stockholm, 13-year-old’s Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin) are tired of being pissed off, and pissed on by the world around them. That’s when they decide it’s time to start a band, although neither one knows how to play an actual instrument. Still, they are angry enough to just whack whatever instruments they’re given, write naughty lyrics about hating gym class, and yell as loud as they want. But eventually, the two realize that maybe it’s time to add another member to their duo and make it a threesome. In walks Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), a very-Christian gal that plays acoustic guitar and is, in many ways, the polar opposite of Bobo and Klara. However, the three all eventually get along well once they realize that they hate the same things and want to find an outlet to voice their hatred for all things in life. That said, they still have their issues, and find ways to not only clash with those around them, but even each other and it might break up the band for good.
Being a kid, for the most part, can kind of suck. Sure, there’s the lovely joys one can go through when growing up where you can practically do anything you want, no consequences whatsoever, but there’s also the feeling that you are hardly getting as much respect or consideration as you should. Because, when you’re young, say around 12-14-years-old, all you want to do is be respected as an adult, be taken seriously, and speak your mind freely, and when that doesn’t happen, it’s not just disappointing, but quite infuriating as well.
That happened to me, sort of, but this post isn’t all about me. Rather, it’s about these three young girls in We Are the Best! – Bobo, Klara, and Hedvig. All of whom, not only seem like they’re actually the age they’re playing (which may not sound like much, but trust me, totally is), but seem like real life, actual young girls you’d see on the street. But not just any ordinary young girls, but more or less, young girls that aren’t afraid to speak out and show the world that they’re tired, pissed off and definitely not going to take it anymore.
This aspect to these characters, not only made them more than just another bunch of girls coming into their own-selves as women, but as human beings as a whole. And to me, that was the most interesting aspect surrounding this movie.
For instance, Klara is exactly the kind of girl I knew growing up and still run into from now and again; she’s young, blissful, chock full of energy and is always around to tell you that she doesn’t like what you’re doing and doesn’t care what you think about her. She’s just being who she is, get used to it and sod off. But what’s so interesting about Klara, the character, isn’t that she’s a teeny, tiny little rebel of a gal, but that she doesn’t always seem to be like this and, instead, is like you or I, even though she definitely wouldn’t want to admit that. She wants to be loved, feels love, and most of all, can get very sad when her feelings are hurt.
Though this may seem like nothing special, when you take into perspective the kind of person she is (a rebel without much of a cause and without an even lesser of a care about anything), this makes you see her for who she really is: A little girl just starting to make sense of the world. The difference with Klara is that she’s willing to tell the world to fuck off, if need be. Not only does this make her the most interesting character, but definitely the highlight of a film which has many.
This isn’t to exclude the other two gals though, because Bobo and Hedvig are both very well-written, three-dimensional girls that go through some transformations over time and make it seem all so realistic. And a movie like this, had it taken the wrong step or false note, it probably would have destroyed the whole picture. However, somehow, writer/director Lukas Moodysson finds neat, interesting ways to make these characters feel even rawer than before and even make the situations that they run into, not just revelatory to anybody who has ever been a kid before and gone through the growing up angst portrayed here, but for anybody who has ever imagined themselves as staying the same person forever and forever.
Fact is, you won’t. So, get up, shut up, stop crying, and move on with your lives.
Better yet, go out there and make something of yourself. Even if you think you may not work out or if others don’t like what you’re doing, then screw them! As long as you’re happy with yourself, and the people who support you, then that’s all that matters. Anything else is just poppycock and shouldn’t be thought about even more.
And yes, I realize that I’m getting a whole lot further and further away from this movie, but I can’t help myself. Little movies like this, that feel and act so real, are the kinds that make me so happy. Not because it seems like somebody finally understands what it was like to be a kid, but what it was like to be a kid, while you’re in the process of officially growing up. However, what Moodysson does so well here is that he doesn’t try to sugarcoat all of these little girls’ everyday adventures in some sort of cheesy, yet very manipulative nostalgia; he just presents these kids as being kids, and as a result, makes us feel like kids all over again. It isn’t that we’re being told, “Hey remember when we did that thing when we were kids?”, it’s more like, “Hey, being a kid kind of rocks. So come along with me and lets get into some mischief.”
I can assure you that I didn’t actually like this as a kid. I was too busy getting my head thrown into lockers. Damn bullies.
I’ll show them one day.
Consensus: Smart, heartfelt, and most of all, realistic in the way it presents childhood, We Are the Best! is less about the actual idea of punk music, and more of about branching out and doing something, to not only prove to others that you can do it, but to prove it to yourself as well.
8.5 / 10 = Matinee!!
Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images