Show Me Love (1998)

LUKAS MOODYSSON

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  Fucking Amal

Sweden/Denmark, 1998.  Memfis Film, Det Danske Filminstitut, Film i Väst, SVT Drama, Göteborg, Svenska Filminstitutet, Sveriges Television, Trollywood AB, Zentropa Entertainments. Screenplay by Lukas Moodysson.  Cinematography by Ulf Brantas.  Produced by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

Agnes is suffering the very best of teen angst issues, a loner in a new school who has made no friends, but deeply enamored with popular pretty girl Elin.  She throws a birthday party that no one attends until Elin and her sister show up on a whim, putting these two young ladies together and sparking up an attraction that is wholly mutual.  Elin, who constantly rants about living in her boring Swedish town, is at the same time not ready to take on its standard prejudices, so following their initial attraction she quickly treats Agnes like a stranger and takes up with a high school jock for whom she has no feelings.  Director Lukas Moodysson’s sweet-natured look at first love is notable for being as funny as it is painful, easy to watch thanks to the incredibly natural performances and sharp observations of teenage social interactions.  Its exploration of the hardest aspects of the age are made easy to watch thanks to the plucky resolve of its heroine, whose problems come from the outside world and not any inner homophobia that would suggest there is anything fundamentally wrong with her; Moodyson makes it clear that it is loneliness and isolation rather than personal doubt that drive her to taking out her frustration on others and, in one particularly unhappy scene, on herself.  The film maintains a smooth hold of its subjects’ point of view, harshly pointing out its characters’ conflicts (Agnes can be immensely unkind, while Elin has a whimsical side to her) and loving them at their most extreme.

European Film Award Nomination:  Best European Film

Toronto International Film Festival:  1999

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