To call Swedish director Lukas Moodysson’s “We Are The Best!” a feel-good movie isn’t quite accurate but it is a wonderful, noisly exuberant work about feeling young, different, rebellious, confused and finding friends and oneself. Set in Stockholm in 1982 and based on Moodysson’s wife Coco’s 2008 graphic novel “Aldrig godnatt” (“Never goodnight”), the film mixes humor and darkness in perfect proportions (and in that way is reminiscent of “Together” and “Show Me Love”).
Sweet, spiky-haired Bobo (Mira Barkhammar), with her round face and round metal-rimmed glasses, is another of Moodyson’s sad girls (but much safer than the eponymous lead character of “Lilya 4-Ever”). She lives with her single mother and spends her time with her best friend Klara (Mira Grosin), a girlier girl despite a dramatic mohawk and the baggy, shapeless sweaters both girls favor. Thirteen, bursting with mostly unfocused puppy-level energy, and fighting boredom, the friends, with scant musical ability or experience, all but accidentally start a punk band.
Recognizing their artistic limitations, they recruit a classmate, Hedwig (Liv LeMoyne), a talented classical guitarist who’s spurned in the lunchroom–she’s a shy, born-again Christian. Lonely, Hedwig is open to Bobo and Klara’s ideas and attention, if a bit wary.
The trio almost dissolves before it really forms when Bobo chops off Hedwig’s long blonde hair but the crisis passes and the girls band together to meet boys, deal with imperfect (and sometime absentee) parents, party, wander around at night and joyfully play their hearts out.
“We Are The Best!” will open on Friday, May 30 in New York at the Angelika Film Center and the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, and in Los Angeles. A national rollout will follow.