Quick Hit: The sweetness of early adolescence meets the ideals of punk in this film from Sweden.
So a while back, I watched a movie called Sing Street that blew me away completely. As I sat and hummed “Drive It Like You Stole It”, I happily googled movies with similar themes. Along with director John Carney’s older films, like Begin Again, I found this film out of Sweden concerning itself with the formation of a young punk band. It’s called We Are The Best, and while I didn’t love it, it’s certainly an average coming of age film.
Open disclosure – I don’t speak Swedish, which the movie is in, I’m a male and the two protagonists are female, and I didn’t really embrace “punk” in this sense at any time in my varied life. So take that as you may, because I may be slightly off the target audience for this flick.
WATB follows Bobo and Klara as they begin their own punk band in Stockholm. Eventually, they recruit a third girl, Hedvig to their group. This leads to slightly better music, but maybe a bit more drama.
First off, this isn’t Sing Street – music doesn’t come together in a number of montage scenes. Bobo and Klara really don’t have much musical talent at the beginning of the film, and Hedvig’s addition to the group is sorely necessary. Even after her inclusion in the band, the music sounds akin to what you would expect from a 12 or 13 year old girl’s punk band. I’m fully admitting some of this could be the fact I couldn’t pronounce the words if I tried, but I think a lot of this is purposeful – WATB is a much more realistic film than Sing Street, at least in some aspects. Very few of the bands we create as tweens actually become anything successful.
The plot moseys along at its own pace, not really hurried with anything. Sure, there’s another battle of the bands type event, but the film doesn’t set a huge deadline on it. This drags the film down a bit, even if it obviously has other interests. Instead it just focuses on Klara, Bobo, and Hedvig and their interactions. A lot is mined from the fact that Hedvig is a Christian, and is so much more prim and proper than Klara and Bobo. In a pretty powerful scene, there’s some hair cutting – but I’ll just leave you to watch it. Suffice it to say it’s exactly like something you would expect to happen from a bunch of girls that want to be radically different than everyone else.
That’s the best aspect of the film, in that it realizes the interactions are its biggest strength. This is about what it means to hang out with your friends and create something, even if it sucks. I used to make James Bond films in the basement of a friend’s house (hey Clark, if you’re out there) when I was eight or nine, with a terrible British accent to boot. And while I would rue the day one of those found their way online, it would still be hilarious for he and I to watch our creation and reminisce on them. Director Lukas Moodysson (and his wife Coco, who co-wrote the film with Lukas) know that we look back on our childhood experimentation with artistry with fondness, and that’s truly what the movie is about.
So, I liked it, didn’t love it overall. I’m going to give the film a “C”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"