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I think Peter was discussing this film online yesterday, but it wasn't here apparently, unless the search engine is failing me.

 

I've not seen anything by director Lukas Moodysson, and had heard, I thought, that this was minor work. Now that the film has opened in D.C., I'm startled to learn that this story, about two girls who start a punk band, includes a religious character. The two girls:

 

recruit another outsider, shy but talented guitarist and devout Christian Hedwig (Liv LeMoyne) to join the band.

 

I'm considering making the trek into town to see this film, although even if I decide to do it, the logistics could be tough to pull off. Have you seen it, Peter? Maybe Darrel caught it at a festival? Anyone have anything to add?

 

EDIT: I just looked again at Michael O'Sullivan's Washington Post review, which I thought I had read yesterday but clearly hadn't read closely (I remembered the star rating: 3.5). It states: 

 

Enter Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), a born-again goody-two-shoes who, because of her interest in classical music, is just as much of an outsider as Bobo and Klara. Hedvig plays acoustic guitar like a nerd, but she can also rock out, as it happens. When she picks up an electric guitar for the first time and fires off an impromptu, unaccompanied version of “Sex Noll Tva” — a 1981 song by the Swedish group KSMB — the hair on the back of your neck should stand on end. If it doesn’t, you might want to see a neurologist.

Bobo and Klara quickly recruit Hedvig. (“We’ll influence her away from God,” crows Bobo to Klara.

 

Oh, O'Sullivan also says the film has met with "almost universal praise, most of which it deserves," so I guess I really haven't been paying close attention to anything about this movie's reception.

Edited by Christian

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My review

 

I liked it quite a bit.  Excellent portrayal of early teens.  The outsider status of all three girls plays out well. The Christianity angle is there, but not pushed.

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Thanks, Darrel. I'm just back from seeing it with seven other people at the 9:30 show on a Saturday night -- Landmark wasn't kidding when it booked the film for just one week -- and it was a solid, entertaining film. The faith angle is pretty interesting as far as it's addressed -- the scene with Hedvig's mother confronting the two girls made me uncomfortable until I realized her intent -- but faith felt like a passing point in the film, albeit one that gets revisited a couple of times. And I'm fine with that. I'm happy Moodysson didn't make Christianity the enemy here. 

 

Does Moodysson address faith in his other films? He appears to have written (or co-written) most of the films he's directed.

Edited by Christian

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Ron Reed tells me he read somewhere that Moodysson is a self-professing Christian.

 

I don't know anything about that, but I do know that I went to the film keen to see how it explored the faith angle, and... it didn't. The film spends a lot of time in the homes of the two main girls, but none at all in the home of the third band member, i.e. the Christian one (except for two occasions when the two main girls visit her and/or her mom).

 

And to the extent that the Christian character has an arc, it is that the two main girls do, in fact, "corrupt" her (even if it is only by getting her to swear in the final scene).

 

But if you set aside the religious stuff, this is certainly a really good portrayal of teenaged life -- including the ability of teenaged kids to cynically push the social-justice buttons of adults for their own selfish gain (whether it's getting out of gym class, nabbing free fast food, or begging for money that gets spent on ice cream etc.). It's not clear to me whether the film takes the girls' side in those matters, but hey.

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Hey, thanks for bringing this up. I hadn't heard of it, and have always enjoyed Moodysson, though he's a tough one to crack: Here in the Mammoth thread I refer to Moodysson as a "Christian humanitarian vegetarian Swede." He has never been shy about professing any of these things, but the Christian leanings you're asking about are of a different mindset altogether. He's favorable to his set of beliefs, which includes Christianity, and he certainly tackles that angle in all of his films -- but he isn't afraid to film total ugliness in the process. (My short post here in the thread on A Hole in My Heart shows my disgust with this side of his personality.)

Also, we have a thread for Container, but no one here has seen it and I believe it's pretty much impossible to see; we have a thread on another well-depicted teenage love story Tillsammans; and on the old novogate board is a small thread for Moodysson's masterpiece Lilja 4-Ever, in which JRobert gives us his take on Moodysson's Christian leanings. (Lilja 4-Ever was also #8 on my Top Ten Films of the Aughts).

Edited by Persona

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Thanks, Stef. I've always wanted to see Lilja 4-Ever, although until seeing your spelling just  now, which I assume is correct, I'd never picked up on the "j" in the title.

 

Thanks for the thread links. I'll investigate. 

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And to the extent that the Christian character has an arc, it is that the two main girls do, in fact, "corrupt" her (even if it is only by getting her to swear in the final scene).

 

But if you set aside the religious stuff, this is certainly a really good portrayal of teenaged life -- including the ability of teenaged kids to cynically push the social-justice buttons of adults for their own selfish gain (whether it's getting out of gym class, nabbing free fast food, or begging for money that gets spent on ice cream etc.). It's not clear to me whether the film takes the girls' side in those matters, but hey.

 

Re the first point, I don't think you're giving enough credit to the film's sweet tone and how that makes that moment play. (Admittedly I don't share that scruple in most circumstances, but ... what the hell.)

 

And re the second, I saw less of that angle here (and there's less as the film goes on) than in TOGETHER, which I think is Moodysson's film and which really is about that topic -- what might childhood rebellion look like in a culture that (claims to) value that.

Edited by vjmorton

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vjmorton wrote:
: Re the first point, I don't think you're giving enough credit to the film's sweet tone and how that makes that moment play. (Admittedly I don't share that scruple in most circumstances, but ... what the hell.)

 

I see what you did there. :)

 

I do appreciate the sweet tone. But tone doesn't necessarily enter into my appreciation of "character arcs". Ebert once said that you can tell what a movie is about by seeing what changes between the beginning and end, and, well, that's the one main change that I see.

 

: And re the second, I saw less of that angle here (and there's less as the film goes on) than in TOGETHER, which I think is Moodysson's film and which really is about that topic -- what might childhood rebellion look like in a culture that (claims to) value that.

 

Haven't seen that one.

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I don't know anything about that, but I do know that I went to the film keen to see how it explored the faith angle, and... it didn't. The film spends a lot of time in the homes of the two main girls, but none at all in the home of the third band member, i.e. the Christian one (except for two occasions when the two main girls visit her and/or her mom).

You skip right over those scenes, Peter, but what do you think of the clip you linked? How does it "explore the faith angle" in this film? Admittedly, Hedvig isn't involved in that scene, but that is her mother, which clearly informs the girl's faith. So what do you think of the expression of said faith? 

 

Also, if you can't "see" an arc in Hedvig's hairstyle during the film, you must be blind. wink.png

Edited by Christian

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Christian wrote:
: So what do you think of the expression of said faith?

 

Well, you've got the stern, strict mother type who, if memory serves, distorts what her daughter's reaction to the haircut was, and who tries to use the occasion to coerce the other girls into attending church. It's not unrealistic -- I certainly knew parents like that when I was growing up -- but she's basically just another expression of The Man against whom the other girls are thumbing their noses.

 

: Also, if you can't "see" an arc in Hedvig's hairstyle during the film, you must be blind.

 

Heh. Actually, I'd say the hair follows the same arc as her language. :)

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