Lukas Moodysson's story centres around three young girls forming a punk band in 1982 Stockholm - because they love punk, because they are angry, because they are happy, because they are pissed off the older boys with their foppish rock hair keep assuming they should take priority at the youth club, and because they really, really hate P.E.
13 year olds Bobo and Klara are ostracized by their those around them because they are into punk music which in 1982 in Sweden wasn't really cool. There's a hint of irony here surrounding the attitudes of their peers because trying to make a punk feel bad that they are not part of the mainstream is a fairly doomed pursuit. Their complete steadfast dismissal of the Lycra-clad girls who perform Human League sound-tracked synchronised dance routines to rapturous applause at the school talent show is an utter joy to watch. Bobo and Klara do not give any tiny degree of a shit about what others think of them, but they are pissed off (rightly so) when their opinions or actions are dismissed. They decide to start a punk band in rebellion and bring in shy Christian guitar virtuoso Hedvig to teach them how to play and join on guitar. Friendship, music, arguments and a bid to put on a gig ensue.
The dialogue, as with most of Moodysson's work, is naturalistic and witheringly funny. The parents various reactions to the music - ranging from being mortified to trying their best to mortify the girls - are spot on. With We Are the Best! you never feel like you are watching a grand production, you feel more like you happen to be sitting in someone's house having a cup of tea when you notice an interesting exchange between the host's kid and their friends and get lost in listening in.
What I love about this film is how honest it feels and how gentle the storytelling is. Their passion may be punk but this is an easy going story focused on three friends, their love of music and their growing ability to laugh off life's problems. It's not an aggressive rant about the pain of early teenage life. It's rare we get any film's depicting girl's childhood years, especially when it comes to something like forming a punk band, so to have one this good is a real treat.
All three girls; Mira Barkhammar (as Bobo), Mira Grosin (as Klara), and Liv LeMoyne (as Hedvig) give fantastic performances and are surely destined for great things in the future.
I'd really love it if they went on to form a punk band...
Punks not dead! We Are the Best!