By Darin Skaggs
Lukas Moodysson’s We Are The Best! is a coming of age story that really works more as an anti-coming of age story. It is about three thirteen year old girls from the early 1980’s who decide to start a punk band despite everyone around them saying punk is dead. They pursue this new dream all while dealing with parents, school and trying to find out what love is. While they do go through all of this, including fights among themselves, they don’t learn to respect their mothers nor vice versa. They do not learn what love is from some nice guy. They are only thirteen, they learn to love life, themselves and some real rock and roll music.
The girls start off as sad, introvert Bobo (Mira Barkhammar), rebellious, carefree Klara (Mira Grosin) and hardcore Christian child Hedvig (Live LeMoyne). Slowly they begin to find themselves with the music they play. Bobo and Klara while working on a school project hear some older boys playing some music in a rec center practice room. They immediately knock it off as garbage; sign up for practice and after a little argument get the room. They don’t know in the slightest idea of what they are doing, but for the first time in the film they look comfortable in their own skin. During a talent show they see Hedvig who plays the same song every year and gets ridicule for the religious content. Bobo has the idea to enlist her to teach them how to play instruments. After a little bit of arguing and some fun the three become best of friends.
The three main girls are absolutely brilliant. They are fully realized characters due to Coco Mooysson’s script and their acting. They are all different people who, in real life, might never get along but they do through the power of music. A big theme in the film is music can help you though the tough times. It does not proclaim that music will fix all your problems, sometimes it might even make life harder, but it will help you find out who you are and where you belong. The group is never really good as a whole piece but they know what they love and do not give up on their dream.
The feel of the film is grounded in reality. Bobo’s mother doesn’t have one man in her life for Bobo to call father and when her dad is there it is uncomfortable to be around. You feel that these kids are in an odd place in their life like most thirteen year olds. They believe what their parents tell them like Hedvig’s mother forcing Christianity on her or the loving yet aphetic attitude of Klara’s parents makes her do or say whatever she wants to anyone. Also the film is really funny, the shyness of the kids makes for some hilariously awkward moments. The musical parts are absolutely amazing. The girls commit to their song, “Abort the Sport” which they came up with after their gym teacher made them run laps for not playing right.
After all the learning about each other and themselves the film ends on a hysterical note after the band gets booed at their first performance. You get to sit and wonder if they grew up at all or did they just get through life using the band? Whichever it may be We Are The Best! is a hugely entertaining film that you can’t help but proclaim as the best.