We Are the Best
(Directed by Lukas Moodysson, Sweden, 2013)
With We Are the Best, director Lukas Moodysson captures how the power of punk music can help give a voice to the disenfranchised, particularly pre-teen girls.
Based on the semi-autobiographical graphic novel, Never Goodnight, written by Moodysson’s wife, Coco, the film follows best friends Bobo and Klara, two outcasts who find solace in each other and in punk. After being picked on by older kids at the local community center, and bullied by their gym coach, they take out their frustrations on a bass guitar and a set of drums. “We should start a band for real,” muses bespectacled Bobo to mohawk’ed Klara. Never mind that they don’t own, nor know how to play, instruments. After luring shy eighth grader, Hedvig, from her classical acoustic guitar practices, the band is born.
Moodysson does an impeccable job capturing the early ’80s. In fact, I was surprised to read the film was just completed last year; everything from the tone, clothing, and settings make this feel like a re-issue. (If you’ve seen his 2000 film Together, which portrays a commune in the ’70s, you’ll know Moodysson is adept at capturing older eras without ever seeming campy.)
Although there’s not much of a plot to We Are the Best, the joyful and light-hearted film is definitely captivating. By the end, you’ll find yourself agreeing, these girls are the best.