We Are the Best! (2013)
June 29, 2016 8:42 AM - Subscribe

Three girls in 1980s Stockholm decide to form a punk band -- despite not having any instruments and being told by everyone that punk is dead.

This movie received mostly very positive reviews for it's portrayal of a young teen girl experience in Sweden in the Early 80s, along with it's infectious joy.

A conversation with director Lukas Moodysson. An interview with Coco Moodysson, whose autobiographical comic her husband based the movie on.
posted by latkes (13 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
This was like the perfect movie for me to watch with my family last night after a stressful day at work. The young teen girl relationships felt super real - kids making bad decisions that could hurt each other - but still kept delightfully light and ultimately portrayed a beautiful vision of girls' friendships. I was excited to share this with my 13 year old daughter who is intrigued by loud rock right now (she's more of a metal girl than a punk but I think a lot translates).

It was cool to get a flavor of Stockholm, at least the early 80s version - I love how such young teens are just walking around at night, taking the subway, etc. So refreshing.

Also, their song is awesome. Hate the Sport!!
posted by latkes at 8:49 AM on June 29, 2016

I don't have much to say about this film, except that I loved it.
posted by maxsparber at 10:01 AM on June 29, 2016

I, too, Hate The Sport!

Great movie all around. The performances are great, the writing is good. It's very economically paced. It's like an Ozu movie, in Sweeden, with punk rock.
posted by vibrotronica at 5:09 PM on June 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Heh. Haven't seen the film yet, but I talked about classic punk act Ebba Grön with some american friends yesterday, and today someone links to a Pitchfork article which features their biggest hit, Staten och Kapitalet (State and Capital, in the marxist sense). Small world. So a quick link dump about that song:

Original version from 1972 by progg (*) act Blå Tåget (The Blue Train). The original title means "one hand knows what the other is doing", referring to collaboration between the state and capitalist owned corporations, especially via the Saltsjöbaden Agreement and similar arrangements.

Punk version from 1980 by Ebba Grön (Ebba Green, a code phrase used by the police after arresting German terrorist Norbert Kröcher during the Operation Leo kidnapping affair.)

Lyrics in English (via Yahoo Answers, of all places).

*) from progressiv (progressive), a left-wing pre-punk political music movement, not to be confused with progressive rock even if some progg bands played prog. Contemporary with ABBA, but about as far from them as you can get.
posted by effbot at 7:27 PM on June 29, 2016 [4 favorites]

This is one of my favorite films of the last few years. I've been recommending it to everybody.
posted by MrBadExample at 8:17 PM on June 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

I absolutely loved this movie. It occurred to me while I was watching it how rare it is to see a film where the main characters are young girls and they are not in peril--sure, they have their mistakes and sad moments, but overall they are just growing up and doing things and enjoying their creativity.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:47 AM on June 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

Punk is dead? What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:09 PM on June 30, 2016

Yes! I loved this movie.

I really like how Hedvig sort of meshes with them as a friend. Bobo and Klara approach her almost adversarially, but find out she's a real person who has qualities they lack (not just musical skill), and it sort of instantly gets flipped around where Hedvig seems kind of cool and I think Bobo and Klara realize they look like a couple of weird little monkeys. But they're okay with that.

And the actresses for Bobo and Klara did an unbelievably good job. Mira Barkhammer especially radiated the wild-eyed I-could-destroy-everything-if-I-wanted-to energy that makes her seem way more rock-n-roll than those doofy self-serious metal dudes they fight with for practice space.

The contortions of the community center guy to trying to like do the best thing for them was also very interesting. He has the look and demeanor of some asshole who is going to ruin everything, but it turns out maybe he is carefully shoving all of himself aside, and trying to think of the best things for the kids. It's not like grudging support, it's like... a careful meting out of just the right amount of support. You don't get the impression that he LIKES the girls that much, but IIRC he does right & fair by them at every turn.
posted by nom de poop at 7:57 PM on June 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

This was the sweetest movie I saw last year. It felt very real and I loved it.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:50 PM on June 30, 2016

This movie is so great, and I love that other people feel the same way.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:54 PM on July 1, 2016

It just occurred to me that structurally, there isn't a lot of character development in this movie. It's not a coming of age story. Hedwig has the most growth but it's pretty understated. It's interestingly low key.
posted by latkes at 12:45 PM on July 2, 2016

Oh, awesome -- I saw this in the theater and immediately looked it up because I LOVED it, but there was very little substantive about it in English at the time. And now the source novel has been translated! Can't wait to read it.

latkes, that's an interesting observation and I agree, it has less of a coming-of-age narrative and is more like a vignette or a portrait of a very specific time in life. I think character development happens, but in a way that's more true to my experience of how people change -- small realizations leading to subtle changes, rather than grand epiphanies.
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:41 PM on July 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

I love this movie so much. So much. I love that the girls' families are mostly loving and supportive, even if they don't really understand (like, the biggest conflict with the parents is Hedvig's mom saying "I'd like you to come to church" to Bobo and Klara).

I assume many moment with the girls are unscripted for the most part -- the bit when they're making the post-nuclear scene in the youth center; the bit with the bags of yarn; the begging & when they bought a bunch of junk food. All of those bits just felt so beautifully natural and amazing. Those girls just got to be girls in the best way.

But ... that scene with those two youth center dudes showing off and then Hedvig just tunes the guitar without saying anything and totally schools them without saying anything ... I love that every time. (I also love that the youth center dudes are impressed.)

I love when even these girls have conflict over stupid boys, they decide the band is more important. They have priorities!

The book this is based on, Never Goodnight, is a delight -- it's somewhat different but very much the same in spirit. Coco Moodysson's Tumblr is basically all The Cure and Miley Cyrus and just 100% amazing.

We Are the Best! is basically the best thing and my life better for it being in it. Yours will be too.
posted by darksong at 4:18 PM on July 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

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