The inexplicable moments of youth where the world was ours for the taking and nothing seemed out of grasp are the ones that seem the most magical in retrospect, when friendship was unbreakable and dreams were just about reaching out and taking them. "We Are The Best!" is a simple but ultimately charming little film about the power of youth and friendship.
"We Are The Best!" introduces us to Bobo, Klara and Hedvig (Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosen & Liv LeMoyne), just three unlikely grade school girls in Stockholm in the 1980's, who with the exception of Hedvig have never picked up an instrument and decide to start a punk band in the face of everyone around them saying that punk is dead.
It's a simple, but ultimately cute affair as "We Are The Best!" takes us to a simpler time by which I don't mean the early 1980's or the punk rock era, but the innocence and hope of childhood at the time when we were very aware of the world around us, but still too young to get into any real trouble.
A family affair, "We Are The Best!" is writer/director Lukas Moodysson's adaptation of the graphic novel "Never Goodnight" by the director's wife Coco Moodysson. It's a fun little yarn as these twelve year old girls explore their universe and test their boundaries while still getting anxious over boys or whether or not anyone will like them. Moodysson keeps it all moving as a crisp and tight affair as the story never gets bogged down in any genuinely unnecessary melodrama and keeps the ultimate goals of its characters simple, navigating simple problems like drinking too much for the first time, and cutting each other's hair without permission. It's the rebellious nature of youth without weighing down with melodrama.
Our three heroine's have a genuinely compelling rapport with one another and are great to watch. There is nothing of any genuine weight going on, but it is all important to them and that's kind of the point. It's a story where these girls live in the moment, much like any of us when were 12 and 13 and they sell it well.
At the end of the day, "We Are The Best!" is not really any sort of master stroke of filmmaking and it doesn't need to be either as the natural charm of these characters come through and while the festival circuit may have over hyped this one just a little bit, it makes me feel good that a nice little movie like this has a place where it can not only exist, but even thrive.
3 out of 5 stars.
"We Are The Best!" opens in theatres in Toronto, Montreal & Vancouver this Friday May 30th, check with local listings for show times.