SHOW ME LOVE (FUCKING AMAL) (director/writer: Lukas Moodysson; cinematographer: Ulf Brantas; editors: Michael Leszczylowski/ Bernhard Winkler; music: ; cast: Alexandra Dahlstrom (Elin), Rebecca Liljeberg (Agnes), Erica Carlson (Jessica), Mathias Rust (Johan Hult), Stefan Horberg (Markus), Ralph Carlsson (Agnes’ Father Olof ), Maria Hedborg (Agnes’ Mother Karin), Axel Widegren (Agnes’ little brother Oskar), Jill Ung (Elin’s Mother Birgitta), Josefin Nyberg (Viktoria); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Lars Jonsson; Strand Releasing; 1998-Sweden-in Swedish with English subtitles)
“A charming teen comedy from Sweden.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A charming teen comedy from Sweden about the love between two girls, that’s written and directed by the 30-year-old first-timer Swedish film-maker Lukas Moodysson (“Together”/”Container”/”A Hole in my Heart”).
The restless, bored and volatile 14-year-old Elin (Alexandra Dahlstrom) is a spitfire who lives with an older teen sister Jessica (Erica Carlson) and single parent mom Birgitta (Jill Ung). She’s pissed that she’s stuck living in the backwater smallsuburbantown of Amal. Also unhappy living in Amal is the 16-year-old Agnes (Rebecca Liljeberg), who has lived here for a year and a half and she still has no friends.
Agnes’ well-meaning parents force a house birthday party for the 16-year-old that she doesn’t want, and even though Agnes is a vegetarian mom prepares a roast beef dinner. The only guest who shows up is in a wheelchair and the rude Agnes openly rejects her when saying to her face ”I don’t want to be friends with a palsied cripple who listens to backstreet boys.” Agnes then retreats to the safety of her room and whines about being ”ugly, a failure, repulsive” and contemplates suicide.
Salvation for Agnes, the school’s least popular girl, and Elin, the school’s most popular girl, comes for both unhappy girls after Elin kisses Agnes to win a bet with her sister. That helps Elin realize that she’s a lesbian like Agnes and they courageously defy the yokel locals by beginning an unlikely romance after they literally both come out of the closet.
The slight coming-of-age film, reveling in the pains of adolescence and inability of teens to communicate with parents, is told from the POV of a teenager. It lacks depth, but because of its simplistic honesty won over the Swedish public to become a big box office success.
REVIEWED ON 2/2/2012 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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