Sixteen-year-old Lilja and her only friend, the young boy Volodja, live in Estonia, fantasizing about a better life. One day, Lilja falls in love with Andrej, who is going to Sweden, and invites Lilja to come along and start a new life.
A story about a troubled boy growing up in England, set in 1983. He comes across a few skinheads on his way home from school, after a fight. They become his new best friends even like family. Based on experiences of director Shane Meadows.
While waiting for her mothers reply to take her to the USA, Lilya idles the time away smoking, drinking and having fun with her, too, outcast friend Volodya. In time, the chance of a new life becomes non-existent; her life is going nowhere. Meeting a young man, she then finds a plane ticket in her hand and a new life in Sweden: a job, an apartment and prospects. All is not what it seems. There shall be work, there shall be housing and there shall be no escape. This is the stark, frank and disturbing vision of the life of a young victim of the underground sex trade and in all its tone of realism of abject poverty, despicable actions and of wanting to show that dreaming of a better life is not a crime but that life can shatter the illusion of a happy ending. Written by
I wasn't surprised by how perfect this film is from the first second to the last, since it's directed by Lukas Moodysson. Different than Tillsammans and Fuckin Åmål in style, but still absolutely fascinating. I could find only one minor flaw, which is Lilya's make-up after the fall. But everything else was wonderful. I hadn't heard of Oksana Akinshina before, but I have a strong feeling I will in the near future. She's really good. I was also amazed by the acting of the little boy.
The frames come so strong that you start to empathize with Lilya after some point. By the end of the film, I was feeling like she was my sister and I wanted to knock those procurers' heads off. I've heard the plot is based on a true story of a Lithuanian girl. I think it's not based on one single true story, it's rather a blend of several true stories. There are many Lilyas, Natalias, Annas out there who are suffering a similar fate. It's so very sad to see how those innocent girls grow into prostitutes just because they're born in some particular country.
Anyone with a heart will be touched and anyone with a taste on movies will be stunned by this movie. I'll buy the DVD as soon as it's available. It's a must have for any collection. One of the rare films I would watch more than once. Total 10.
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