We Are the Best! (aka Vi är bäst!) review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
Perhaps I have been living under an Anglicised rock but Lukas Moodysson was not a name I was familiar with until earlier this week, I have since been told that Together (2000) is well worth watching and easily his best work, but when I sat down to watch We Are the Best I could not help but wonder if I was going to miss the point a little bit.
This feeling wasn’t helped by the general theme of the film, We Are the Best tells the story of a group of teenage girls in Stockholm in the late 1980’s who form an all-girl punk band; perhaps it’s my age, perhaps it’s my general detestation of punk music but I once again felt as though for me this film would be a chore whilst others would have found much more pleasure in it.
However, as the film progresses and the general boredom and frustration of these Swedish teens transmutes into the brash, angry and assertive punk music they attempt (beginning with no idea of even how to hold a guitar) to play, I could not help but become charmed by this odd, funny and loud musical experience.
This is very much thanks to the performances from the three leads, Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin and Liv LeMoyne as Bobo, Klara and Hadvig, who bring these big brazen characters to life. They lift this film from what could have been a rather obvious – almost verging on the slapstick – music-comedy into a surprisingly emotional journey in which friendship, female empowerment and teenage determination win out against the naysayers and stick-in-the-mud adults who all say that “punk is dead”.
We Are the Best captures the essence of punk music, using it to perfectly compliment that desperate and occasionally fantastical period in the life of a teenage girl where she works to find an identity that falls somewhere in between child and woman, exploring notions of sexuality, autonomy, creativity and friendship. With so much uncertainty in their worlds’ the one thing these girls can be sure of is that with one another by their sides and with instruments in their hands they are, undoubtedly, the best.