Eye For Film >> Movies >> Fourteen Sucks (2004) Film Review
Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald
"She keeps everything inside."
Fourteen Sucks is an admirably made, youthful film that has the insidious and painful memories of puberty at its core. It is full of those little moments of impotency, existentialism and half-baked philosophical epiphanies that happen to us all. Nothing is shades of grey and everything so contrasted that happiness and rage are a hair's breadth away.
The film has been directed by four hands, most impressively, creating an interesting visual palette. It is up front and personal, with actors bouncing off each other and an energetic handheld camera keeping us fully engaged.
Emma (Elin Ahlberg) is 14, taking control of her life, changing her friends, hanging out with her older brother's crowd. She grasps the freedom they offer and proceeds to get drunk at a party - the camera is as hammered as she is - passing out in a bedroom, where she is sexually assaulted.
This violation is the catalyst for the remainder of the film. Since the parents remain distant, it's as much her brother, Markus's (Jesper Fridh) story. He's just as emotionally impotent as Emma, but deals with it violently. His guilt at failing to help his sister when she needed him eats away. Both performances are excellent, with Emma rarely speaking and yet commanding attention and empathy. Even when she finds Aron, a boy who likes her for who she is, we're openly willing their happiness. There's a lovely scene when she kisses him for the first time and the film dissolves into a montage of suburban streets, implying that there's a story like this in every neighbourhood.
Even when the filmmakers falter, and they do, they make youthful mistakes, taking narrative risks that don't quite work. Fourteen Sucks may be a provocative title, but it's a solid and promising debut, reminiscent of Moodysson in his early days.Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2005