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Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Sweet, Innocent Movie About Punk Fuckin' Rock

Posted by on Sat, Jun 14, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Meet the Best-les.
  • Meet the Best-les.

Movies about childhood are almost impossible to get right. Part of the blame for this has to fall squarely upon the tiny shoulders of the child actors. Kids are moody, they're not too bright, and as actors they're almost always terrible. But there are other, more complicated reasons why movies about kids don't often work. Sentimental directors and screenwriters—the name "Spielberg" comes to mind—have the mistaken belief that childhood is some blessed state of innocence to which all adults wish to return, and that children are somehow closer to the Divine than adults. Movies about kids fail because adults refuse to remember both the worst and best parts of being a child.

Swedish director Lukas Moodysson probably confronted a lot of negativity when he decided to adapt his wife Coco Moodysson's graphic novel Never Goodnight to film. The comic, about three girls who decide to form a punk band in 1982 Stockholm, didn't take the easy way out by making the girls relatable 16-year-old young adults. Instead, they're 13 and still obviously children. Adolescence is a shadow that follows them around everywhere, but they're still playing dress-up when they rebel against adults and talk about their crushes. Deep down, they're still kids. And I repeat: Movies about kids generally suck.

It's some kind of a miracle, then, that Moodysson somehow made the transition to film work. The movie—retitled, smartly, We Are the Best!is terrific...

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