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Film Review: Show Me Love (aka 'Fucking ??')

Excerpt discovered from proposal in Hollywood boardroom for 'Show Me Love':

Hollywood Producer: OK now, Mister Moody… do you mind if I call ya Lou?
Lukas Moodysson: well actually -
HP: gee thanks Lou, I just LOVE you English people, y'all so friendly!
LM: actually I am not English, I am -
HP: Now this movie ya have for me Lou, High School ya say? You got all the necessary parts, right?
LM: parts?
HP: well ya know… the jock, the rebel, the virgin… the parents who don't understand…
LM: Uh - if you read the script - it's about a lonely girl trying to fit in, who falls in love with another girl and...
HP: now WAIT UP just a minute there, cowboy! You're sayin' there's two GIRLS getting together in this film? No no no, you're not even gonna get off ground floor with that one buddy!
LM: it's a in-depth look at relationships and finding...
HP: Stop! Stop! You're cracking me up! I'll get some of ma boys to - hey, where're ya goin'?
LM: (departing) J?la klantskalle…

Show Me Love is about as far removed from your average teen film (American Pie, fr'instance) as possible, not to mention your usual film about two Swedish girls falling in love - but, strangely, this relationship is only the platform for the real topic matter.

Agnes, having moved to "fucking ??" (a small backwater in Sweden) two years previous, has failed utterly to fit in - probably the worst possible fate in your teenage years. Adding to her troubles, she is developing a crush on the most popular girl in school, Elin - hardly a way to redeem herself in the eyes of her many tormenters.

Elin herself shares Agnes' disdain for the town, willing to try anything ("mugging a pensioner" being one suggestion) to escape dull boys and even duller small town existence. With a friend, she crashes Agne's 16th birthday party - to find they're the only guests - and this is where more problems begin. Elin kisses Agnes for a drunken dare, but returns to apologise - and kiss her properly. But this leads to her own panic and confusion, whilst Agnes is, understandably, heartbroken.

One can guess by the film poster how everything ends, but this is easy to forgive. This is a brilliant portrait of lost souls trying to find even the smallest happiness, no matter the sacrifice. The script refuses to rely on stereotypes; tough guy Johan is devastated when Elin ends his short tenure as boyfriend for no real fault of his own. Agnes turns against everyone including the disabled Viktoria, the only girl willing to be her friend, and even her parents who try desperately to understand their daughter and help her, no matter how futile the effort.

Most frightening of all for the central characters - played brilliantly, by the way, by Alexandra Dahlstr? (Elin) and Rebecca Liljeberg (Agnes) - it seems things will never change, that they will be stuck in the small town forever, doing exactly as their parents did before them. Elin's ideas for a future career are ridiculed, Agnes finds little solace in her father's assurance that things will be different in 25 years.

All in all, this is a parable about all our lives - trying to fit stereotypes that don't necessarily fit ourselves. Brilliant acting, brilliant script, and a brilliant recreation of what could be any high school in the world, make this a must see for anyone who has ever doubted their life - even a little.

Ian Stalvies

(bullet) 'Show me Love' is showing in Dublin's IFC until March 23rd, 2000.

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