Show Me Love

Show Me Love


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

After a spate of Californian teen movies, it is a pleasant surprise to come across one from Sweden that understands the mercurial nature of the condition. Thirty-year-old poet, Lukas Moodysson, in his writer/directorial debut, has captured an essence of the intensity that makes 16 such an agonising age.

For one thing the future in a town called Åmål looks predictable and boring. For another, mum and dad are still hovering. For a third, passion is screaming into a void. Agnes has a crush on Elin and it's killing her. The pain of love is too much. She stays in her room, listening to the modern equivalent of Leonard Cohen suicide music, or sitting by herself in the school canteen, because she hasn't any friends.

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Elin sulks a lot. She knows that all the boys fantasise about her and she could pick whoever she wanted for a snog behind the bike shed, but somehow can't be bothered, it's too easy. Getting legless and popping pills is soooo cool, she thinks, but then she's grounded for some pathetic misdemeanor and has to sneak out of a window to check the scene at Agnes's, where a party is supposed to be happening.

Moodysson manoeuvres his story with great skill, cleverly exposing the strength in Agnes and the weakness in Elin. The boys are footnotes to the girls, important as hooks onto which to hang puppy emotions.

Alexandra Dahlstrom flaunts her sexuality like a cartoon movie star. Later, as she allows Elin to relax and forget her image, she coarsens, strutting with the swagger of a brickie on a building site. Rebecca Liljeberg is probably too pretty for the shy, introspective Agnes. It seems not possible that she can be so unpopular.

Both these actresses give performances that touch the heart. Being young is not knowing how to read the signs. Or rather, reading the signs and not knowing what they mean.

P.S. It doesn't get any easier.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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A teenaged girl develops a crush on her female pal.
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Director: Lukas Moodysson

Writer: Lukas Moodysson

Starring: Alexandra Dahlström, Rebecka Liljeberg, Erica Carlson, Mathias Rust, Stefan Hörberg, Ralph Carlsson, Maria Hedborg, Axel Widegren, Jill Ung, Lisa Skagerstam, Josefine Nyberg

Year: 1998

Runtime: 89 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Sweden/Denmark


EIFF 1999
Glasgay 2012

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