F*cking Åmål"I’d rather be happy now than in 25 years. … Cause in 25 years. That’s like 25 years… It doesn’t exist."
This was added to the marathon after it surprisingly showed up on the most recent Filmspotters 100
. This is also my 2nd film by Lukas Moodysson after watching Together
(a personal favorite of zarodinu, for my rebuttal marathon.)
Overall I liked it, more than Together, and more than I usually like films made in this style. I still think Moodysson uses and abuses the camera zoom more than anyone else out there. It's like he's trying to distract you with his erratic push ins, but it wasn't as omnipresent here as in Together. It also has two very, very likable leads which is great because the rest of the cast is made up of clueless but sometimes earnest adults and your typical batch of snobby, mean girls and clueless guys who just want to have sex.
Alexandra Dahlström is great at conveying the adolescent confusion of Elin. She's such a complex character and the performance is so in the moment that I don't think you can get the full scope of what she's doing until you step back from the film. Elin's also a bit bitchy at times, but she's trying so hard to be seen as more than sexy, trying to find her own path. And nobody else cares, perhaps not even Agnes, who also mostly sees her for her looks. Perhaps she sees the better person Elin keeps locked up inside, but is too wrapped up in her own raging emotions to give Elin the respect. There's too much physical longing in the way.
The uniquely cute Rebecka Liljeberg is a real discovery, and I'm so glad to see she's made a pretty good career since this role. Agnes has fewer notes to play, but Liljeberg plays them so honestly and winningly. Every emotion is right on her face, and you could follow the film completely if consisted of nothing more than close-ups of her.
Moodysson has created good characters, but struggles to bring the narrative to feature length. When focusing on the two girls he has my complete attention, but when he expands to the parents, siblings and (especially) friends I lose interest. The final sequence in the school is great, and very well executed. I don't know why the film didn't end there. The chocolate milk scene after is completely unnecessary.
Other than the location, there's nothing new being discovered in Åmål. I didn't need him to remind me that all teens are going through emotional turmoil and parents just don't understand no matter how hard they try. That's why The Breakfast Club is a better film, as is Smooth Talk, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and the romantic longings of Wong Kar Wai.
Compared to my Top 100 of the 00s...
F*cking Åmål wouldn't make the list.Next Up:
All Quiet on the Western Front
Harlan County U.S.A.
The Passion of Joan of Arc
Sunshine: A Song of Two Humans