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Gael García Bernal,
Åmål is a small insignificant town where nothing ever happens, where the latest trends are out of date when they get there. Young Elin has a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to guys, but the fact is that she has never done *it*. Another girl in her school, Agnes, is in love with her but is too shy to do anything about it. For a number of reasons, Elin ends up at Agnes' birthday party as the only guest. They have a girl's night out together but after that Elin desperately avoids Agnes, refusing to even consider her own feelings toward Agnes. Written by
For me, when watching this movie, one has to keep in mind any other teen-love movies you might have seen. Heck, ALL teen movies are fair game. Then, when watching this movie, notice how those other movies begin to crumble under their own stupidity, and jump off large cliffs like celluloid lemmings. Now THAT'S great filmmaking. Great films go straight for the jugular of other films; thinning out the herd.
Fucking Åmål takes adolescence, and instead of portraying how wonderfully blissful it all was, it shows how it was a time in everyone's life for over-dramatizing and acting mostly petty. But then, out of these ashes rises something that was great about those awkward years: love. Because you didn't stop being dramatic when it came to love, but you celebrated it. Like the characters in this movie, everyone who fell in love in high school spent time brooding over class pictures, or waited by the phone for that one call. Moodysson uses the scenes at the school and the parties to allow viewers to reflect on how awkward and cruel being in high school was. But instead of carrying this effect into the lovely land of high school crushes, he instead raises them up on a pedastal. It made me wonder if i can't love like that again: with no hesitation, no complications, and with all my heart.
What makes this film great though (and not just good) is by bringing the issue of homosexuality into it, but he slowly begins to make the issue hazy and unclear so that it no longer becomes an issue except for the less developed, and unliked, characters in the film. By the end of the movie, it doesn't matter that Agnes and Elin are to GIRLS in love, but that they are two girls in LOVE. In an age where media has transformed homosexuality into more about sexuality and less about love, Moodysson flips the scales. By the end of the movie, you start to realize that Agnes isn't a lesbian, because that title is worthless. She's just a person who loves. She celebrates what she finds beautiful (Elin). Of course, Elin is the main character of the film because she is the one who changes and matures. She elevates herself out of the social stratosphere of high school lunches, and into a world without personal boundries.
Last, one has to admire the fact that Moodysson doesn't take the film over the edge, and make it too much about how girls need to look for love just amongst themselves because all teenage boys are immature. First, he portrays most all of the other kids (regardless of sex) as immature except for Agnes and Elin, not just boys in particular. Then, he allows the viewer to sympathize with Johan. Johan maybe confused and unsure of himself, but he was just as much in love with Elin as Agnes was. How easy it might have been to make him mean, stupid, and worthless, so that viewers would be happy to see Elin flee him and go to Agnes. But he's not, he's kind-hearted and genuinely seems to care about Elin. Once again, this is Moodysson using love to blind the issue of heterosexualty and homosexuality and concentrate on love itself.
Definitely a movie for the romantic, and one that will teach you how to correctly fall in love again.
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