Critics' Pick

We are the Best! (Vi ar bast!) (NR)

Drama 102 May 30, 2014
By Stephanie Zacharek
A truly punk act, a shout of freedom, frustration, and exaltation, hits about halfway through Lukas Moodysson's girl-punk reverie We Are the Best! The three 13-year-old protagonists, high on the idea of the three-chord band they've just started, find discarded yarn of all colors, wrapped into tight little logs. One grabs a kitchen knife and, for no discernible reason other than the WTF-ness of it all, begins sawing a wool log in half, only to jab the knife into her hand.

"Gah!" she yells, and the two other girls hustle her into the bathroom, fluttering around her as they wash the blood off the (minor) wound. Order is restored, but the chaos was glorious. No future, no future, no future for yarn!

Brash and sweet, We Are the Best! captures perfectly the aimlessness of adolescence, the waiting to become something that's so often intertwined with the desire to make something. In Stockholm, 1982, two schoolgirls, Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin), decide that the best way to express their dissatisfaction is to form a punk band.

Their first song is a spry little number whose chorus ("Hate the sport!") says it all. This will, as it turns out, also be their only song, though they hone it to a level of serrated perfection, especially after they recruit a third member, Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), an angelic blonde and somewhat square born-again Christian who not only knows how to play guitar but actually owns one.

Aside from the wool-stabbing incident, there's virtually no dramatic tension in We Are the Best!. But the movie doesn't need it: It's held together by something else, an indefinable esprit.
Lukas Moodysson Mira Bark Hammar, Mira Grosin, Liv LeMoyne, Alexander Karlsson Lukas Moodysson Lars Jönsson Magnolia Pictures


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