Thick Lashes Of Lauri Mantyvaara

***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The Thick Lashes Of Lauri Mantyvaara
"Hauru's film is deliberately messy, satirising everything from the sacred treatment of hockey stars to yoghurt sponsorship."

The world of the teenager is (mis)ruled by anarchy. Youngsters rebel against their parents and the world around them at the same time as their bodies are staging their own revolt against them. The result is a heady, sometimes surreal mix - which is exactly what Hannaleena Hauru taps into with her début film Thick Lashes Of Lauri Mäntyvaara. She presents the world of Finnish BFFs Satu (Inka Haapamäki) and Heidi (Rosa Honkonen) as they see it, which is, in short, as a hypocritical place where revolution can't come soon enough.

The pair are well-versed in resistance and we meet them during the act of sabotage at a wedding. As they blast away from the scene on a pair of dirt bikes, we know these young women mean business. Those too old to be current residents of Teenworld may take a moment to adjust - things explode without being remarked on and boys and kittens become one and the same in a mind high on the hormone rush - but if you relax into it you will have a lot more fun.

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Satu has never knowingly relaxed into anything, happily raging against the local Scandinavian Geisha School and love as a commodity. But what if the way that Heidi has fallen hook line and sinker for local ice hockey stud Lauri (Titus Rantala) is the real thing? Where does that leave friendship? Not to mention her own conflicted feelings about Heidi's sympathetic brother Henri (Santeri Hielinheimo Mäntylä).

Hauru's film is deliberately messy, satirising everything from the sacred treatment of hockey stars to yoghurt sponsorship but she never forgets the real focus of her film - Satu's feelings. This means that though there might be flame-thrower fun along the way, the will they/won't they relationships between her and Henri and Heidi and Lauri are never overlooked. The film also touches lightly, but seriously, on modern issues of concern to modern teenagers, including the way that rumours can spring up and be perpetuated and the importance of relationships being consensual, plus the old favourite - domineering parents.

The female-centric narrative is also much more generous with its male characters than male-focused teenage films often are with their female protagonists - the boys may be second fiddle, but their choices are just as important as those made by the girls. Newcomer Haapamäki is a real discovery - while her character is a great heroine, ever-capable and good at toughing things out, the actress brings a depth to her that hints at the impact the potential for romance and loss of friendship have on her deeper emotions. The other teenagers may have more supporting roles but Hauru elicits good performances all round. Anarchy rules but these kids are OK.

Reviewed on: 24 Jun 2018
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Two Finnish best friends head into a hormone storm.

Festivals:

EIFF 2018

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