You will walk out of We Are the Best! feeling like a giant balloon is swelling in your chest. The film is a delightful and captivating story of what it’s like to be young.
Swedish director Lukas Moodysson (Lilya 4-eva, Mammoth) has yet again proven himself to be an accomplished and versatile filmmaker. His works are each deeply powerful in their own way, and have seen widespread acclaim. Moodysson’s latest film is based on the graphic novel Aldrig Godnatt (Never Goodnight) by Coco Moodysson, Lukas’ wife.
The film takes us back in time to 1982. Bobo, played by Mira Barkhammar, and Klara, played by Mira Grosin, are best friends, and devoted to the fading punk culture. They are both frustrated by their parents, they both hate school sport and they both agree that life generally sucks. That is until they begin signing up for a music rehearsal space. Despite having no idea of how to play, they jam every week on the base guitar and drums. The pair soon recruits the help of talented guitarist and conservative Christian Hedvig, played by Liv LeMoyne, and their band is born.
The film has a beautiful spirit. The narrative constantly develops and stays engaging and unique, with Moodysson truly capturing the essence of what it’s like to be thirteen years old. He finds that sense of innocence only an early adolescent can have. The film itself is not naïve, it feels like a thoughtful reflection on the awkward beauty and simplicity of that time in one’s life.
The young cast members are all superb. Moodysson has extracted a real sense of honesty from their performances. The characters complement each other wonderfully, with each young actor delivering a unique and capable performance. Bobo’s contemplativeness fits perfectly alongside Klara’s fiery and outspoken personality. While Hedvig brings with her the reasonable and understanding nature that the pair needs. It is difficult to remember that these young girls are actors, and not just a bunch of punk-crazed friends. We Are the Best! is driven entirely by these three young protagonists, and they certainly are the stars of the show.
Ulf Brantås’ cinematography aligns beautifully with Moodysson’s vision. The images all have a nostalgic softness and colour, complimented by the wonderful costuming of the three young punks. Overall, the film has a gorgeous visual aesthetic.
Moodysson said of his film, “It’s wonderful to have a friend, wonderful to play an instrument without knowing how, wonderful to set fire to an old statue, wonderful to have the most annoying parents in the world, wonderful to throw up on someone’s records, wonderful to be booed and mocked, wonderful to be the best.” This is a perfect summation of how it feels to watch the film. Moodysson captures the playfulness of being thirteen, perfectly depicting that period of life on screen.
This will stand as an unforgettable coming-of-age story. Even for those who didn’t grow up during that time period, the film will still warm your heart with nostalgic happiness. We Are the Best! is a beautiful film, a treasure that should not be missed.
THE REEL SCORE: 10/10