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Elisabeth leaves her abusive and drunken husband Rolf, she packs her bags, takes the kids and goes to her brother Göran. The year is 1975 and Göran lives in a commune called Together. Living in this leftist commune are people between the ages of 25 and 35, along with their children. It is there where most of the film takes place, and there where things happen that affect not only the extended family members, but a few more... Written by
Fredrik Klasson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
one house; one revolutionary; two open straight marriages; three gay people (maybe four); three children; two carnivores and eight vegetarians; there's only one way they're going to make it... together
Together is a good film. It has no plot to speak of, but hey plots are overrated anyway, especially as most of them have so many holes it's impossible to make sense; Together bypasses this by not having one. But instead what we have is a beautifully observed and a very subtle intelligent comedy. Together (initially ironic) follows the discordant inhabitants of a hippie commune in the mid-seventies. It begins with them all literally jumping for joy at the news of Franco's death: so yeah they have their beliefs, where much of the comedy is derived coming as we do from an apathetic cynical new-millennium perspective. Well I laughed: an example; one of the children is called Tet after the Tet offensive during Vietnam!!. And there's the free love, the radical politics, and the ostracisation towards them by their neighbours. All the clichés, but clichés do happen: and as with Show Me Love the writer/director Lukas Moodysson manages to somehow freshen and make them no longer clichéd at all: a very good skill he has.
Coming from the position of being a very big fan of Lukas' first and better film Show Me Love/ Fucking Åmål it's easy to see the similarities between the two. The similarities are what make Together less impressive, that and the story is less interesting: it's not dull but there are just too many characters, it's hard to connect with any one of them. I've seen Show Me Love perhaps too many times, what keeps me coming back again and again is that I really connect with and love the main characters, it's like they are versions of who I once was. Additionally, there are essentially only two of them for Lukas to focus on, whereas with Together there are at least ten. I don't think it's the age thing either as I'm closer to those in Together than Show Me Love (depressingly). There are just too many characters and he can't focus on them all, the film is essentially a snapshot of their lives over the space of a turbulent few weeks. Similar to Show Me Love, only with the same duration: Together needed to be longer. However at the close it does all come together, you begin to feel for the characters. You come to understand and witness some growth in them: they lose some of their radicalism and begin to actually like each other becoming more synergistic as the staunchly dogmatic members leave for more idealistic communes or the Baader Meinhof! I think the point is that the remaining characters may be similar to me, I may have found a connection only there is no time to show this as they only get a few moments of focus each.
There are also some annoying directorial techniques (the same ones as in Show Me Love) like the fast-zoom to close-up where sometimes a static shot would have been better, I hoped he'd learnt to use it sparingly but obviously he loves it too much to ever part. But this is a tiny point, the biggest drawback is that I can see all the characters from Show Me Love transposed onto this film; different ages, different settings but essentially the same: it's like we're watching the parents of the kids in his earlier film. It's not enough to annoy me, but it does detract, it's what makes this film only a nine rather than the definite ten that Show Me Love deserves. Finally, I hope Lukas will make a film better than Show Me Love so he'll not have it like a millstone, but first he has to find different voices for his characters. I hope everything he does will not be compared to that film, but it is a very good film indeed. However, Together, as it stands, is just too similar not to compare it with his earlier film.
After seeing Together I left the cinema smiling and, if nothing else, it managed to make me sing ABBA's SOS all the way home, and I hate ABBA, being a man and all! And I'm still deciding about seeing it again, so it is a good film and I did enjoy it, the difference being that I wanted to see Show Me Love again immediately and then over and over and over: and do. Maybe after a second viewing I'll feel something more for the characters? I'll let you know!
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