Show Me Love (1998) Poster

(1998)

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10/10
I have NEVER been affected by a movie like I have by this one
Jim Smith11 November 2006
That scene in the car. That scene brought back every hope and dream I could remember as a 15 year old in love with a girl in my class I would never have. It was a validation of all those wonderful daydreams you had at that age and the hope that sprung from them. It was a moment that would send that pang in your heart to heights it's never known.

You're never in love like you are at that age - and when you watch a film like this where you can become so completely involved in the life and emotions of a girl like Agnes - and see her greatest hope realized after a day of humiliation and pain - your heart soars. In fact, I can't think of a moment in a movie that is as perfect as this one.

There's a universal quality to the feelings this film evokes that will pull in everyone who has a heart. I'm many years beyond high school - and of the opposite sex of the two protagonists in the film - and I still can't help but identify completely with this movie. Much of this has to do with the two actresses in the lead roles. Where did this director find these two phenomenal actresses? Rebecca Liljeberg has such a quiet and powerful range. Watching her react to other characters is one of the great pleasures of this film. Alexandra Dahlström takes a role that, in anyone else's hands would be either shallow or unbearable, and makes a character so complete, beautifully vulnerable and full of life you can understand why everyone loves her. These two girls - they are so wonderful, expressive and real you just want to hug them.

I saw this film when it came to New York, loved it then when i saw it once during what seemed like only a two week run, then recently remembered it and rented it. I have seen it 5 times since and I'm sure I'll see it many times more. It is a film that transcends gender, sexual orientation and age.

And for all you English language folks out there (I'm one of you), the subtitles will not be a drawback. In fact, watching this film in it's native language brings you even closer to these characters when you realize how familiar life is as a human being, no matter where we're from. How much we all have in common when it comes to matters of the heart. It's a nice little extra to be reminded of, since it's something we sometimes tend to forget.

My praise cannot be more genuine, heartfelt and complete. Get this film. Your day will be made by it. You'll be telling your friends about it. In a busy life where there's a lot of distraction, you'll remember for a moment how wonderful it is to be alive and in love - and how that's worth everything in the world.
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The most, pornvild, humoristic, cramping- movie I ever seen.
Jonas m28 October 2000
Warning: Spoilers
Hollywood always portrays teenagers through clichés and prejudices. No wonder that this fresh look upon teenagers comes from Sweden, a country the movies of which only seldom make it to our screens. Fucking Åmål makes me wish we saw more Swedish movies, since there is definitely something special about them. The director has chosen a very difficult subject for his first movie : the (love)story of two young girls. Agnes, 16 (very cute Rebecka Liljeberg), is in love with Elin, 14 (enthralling Alexandra Dahlström). Agnes is very closed in upon herself, and doesn't seem to have a single friend. Elin is probably the first person she has ever loved. Elin, on the contrary, is a most lively girl who can't stand the boredom of her own life. Getting drunk allows her to forget about the meaninglessness of life in the small town of Åmål. Boredom and idleness are indeed an underlying theme of the movie (especially in its portrayal of youth). Elin dreams about attacking old ladies, setting houses on fire, fleeing to Stockholm, whatever will put some excitement in her life. All the boys are attracted to her, but though she has dated many, she is still a virgin. Through Agnes, she will discover that she is a lesbian herself, and the deep torments that she feels are extremely well shown by Lukas Moodysson, the director, in the most sensitive way possible. It is very hard to express through images the mental tortures of a teenager who can't accept herself, but Fucking Åmål does it perfectly. I don't think it is possible to walk out of this movie and not be in love with Elin and Agnes (no matter if one is a man or a woman). Everyone has suffered from the kind of torment these two girls live through, and Fucking Åmål will make those who often consider adolescence with condescension or even scorn have a whole new look on it. Rarely have I seen actresses that young that talented. Wait, let me rephrase that : rarely have I seen actresses that talented, period. It is hard to get out of this movie, and get back to everyday life, because it feeds on one's own capacity for emotion continuously, even once the lights have been switched on again and the screen has turned white. And the only way to feed that need for sheer emotion is to go see Fucking Åmål again, again, and again.
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Teaches you how to love again
Czar Nicholas8 July 2001
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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10/10
Don't die before you've witnessed pure life.
Muslinca24 February 2001
If you believe that movies can change or really add something to make you look at life and its challenges in a different way, this movie is undoubtedly one of those which do change things! Unlike the most other movies FA moves in a mostly pure and true way. There's barely heart-melting music to evoke emotions, but strong intensity. Watching the movie, you want it to go on forever, and when it's over, you nevertheless feel perfect happiness because you've witnessed life as it is: wonderful, sad, funny and challenging. The scene when the girls want to go to Stockholm is one of the most wonderful scenes I've ever seen. An absolutely cold atmosphere and the chilly night seem to have expelled life from this little city in the middle of nowhere, but the glances of Elin and Agnes and their few words are as alive as possible. The few seconds in the car are as if they had already succeeded in getting out of their emotional misery, as if they were in Stockholm, and yet the surroundings are still the same, the same unbearable cold light and the same endless darkness beyond the street. It's not the spot that is different, but the girls themselves. For a moment they feel the enormous strength of life and love. For a moment they know where they belong to. For a moment everything is perfect. I'm in love with that scene. Sometimes words can be beautiful, sometimes authors strike divine chords, sometimes painters create mystery and dreams, but only movies can unite movements and words, glances and silence. A smile and the hurting silence, one single word spoken with the glance of love. Movies can have such an incredible power, but rarely do they get by using it. FA does! It changes, maybe it changes things of which I didn't even know they exist, there's possibly not even a word to name them. This movie is just pure, and no rational explanation or critic can keep up with its emotional intensity. Don't understand it, love it!
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10/10
Makes you feel your heart
purma27 September 2002
I just have to leave my own praise for this wonderful film. No other film has ever touched me this way, and I don't think anything will ever surpass this.

Maybe it's because Lukas Moodysson and I share so much common values (Morrissey, obsession with teenage-romances and protective attitude towards that phase of life that is easily forgotten or denied.). As a 24 year old male I cannot watch this with dry eyes and I have seen this about 9 times. Rebecka Liljeberg's desperate eyes, thoroughly true blurted dialog, awkward silences and perfect resurrection for that old Foreigner song that doesn't fit into either of main character's musical taste, but will remain so important to them anyway... oh..

I raise my glass of chocolate milk for this achingly beautiful movie, without this my own past would be more dark and forgotten, but you, Lukas, Alexandra, Rebecka and the rest have reminded me what love is all about and why it's still worth seeking.

It's not just a good movie, it's one of those rare certainly good things on earth.
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A teen film I actually like (spoilers)
Ricky Roma6 July 2005
I'm usually impervious to teen movies. I just can't get beyond the usual moaning, complaining and whining. I find it too much to bear, especially from people who don't have to work for a living, who still have their parents looking after them and who are incapable of expressing themselves properly. I, for one, a pauper scumbag languishing in the job market, would love to have their inconsequential problems. But if I take myself back to my school days then I can just about find humanity enough to sympathise. My teenage years weren't tough – I actually really rather enjoyed school – but I know how it feels to grow up not knowing what you want from life and where you're going. It's certainly a confusing time.

So it's perhaps because of that that I enjoy Show Me Love. It's depiction of teenage years feels genuine and honest and I can relate to most of it. As opposed to Hollywood teen films where all the girls are strikingly gorgeous, the boys are ripped and everyone goes around driving cars and doing designer drugs. My school days weren't like that at all. They were much more like Moodysson's film where the girls wear bad make-up, the boys are hopeless with the opposite sex and where a crushing air of mediocrity hangs in the atmosphere. Everything seems hopeless.

But despite that, my adolescence was pretty smooth sailing. There were no great trails or tribulations. Which is perhaps why I find it so hard to relate to teenagers. Not once did I want to kill myself and I never spent any time pining for a girl (lusting, yeah, but love never entered my mind). So to me their problems always seem rather…pathetic. But because Show Me Love depicts adolescence so genuinely, with all its awkwardness and idiocy, I can't help but like it.

What rings most true is the sheer incompetence of boys around girls. At that age, most of the males of the species are hopeless with the opposite sex. They haven't a clue. And so the terrible compliments ('Jesus you're beautiful') and bone-headed chat-up attempts are rather amusing. Johan, in particular, with his awful bike and terrible baseball cap is subject of the most laughs. He's Amal in physical form. A dead end. And Markus, the other boy, is no better. He knows nothing about women either. In fact, the boys are more comfortable with each other. They'd rather spend time measuring mobile phones. Only with mobile phones, small is best. Inverse penis measuring, anyone?

And the sheer awfulness of a lot of the girls also rings a bell. I don't know her name, but the girl with the miniscule eyebrows (which makes her look rather sinister and perpetually shocked) reminds me of a lot of horrible girls at school. Girls who were experts in making other people's lives a misery. And then there's the handicapped girl. Agnes is unfortunate enough to be friends with her, even though she doesn't like her. Those friendships are the worst – friendships born entirely of convenience and without a shred of genuine affection. Nothing is more suffocating. But as in real life, such friendships are hard to get out of. You may not particularly like the person, you may have nothing in common and you may have nothing to say to one another, but at school to be alone is to be exposed. It's better to have someone in your corner – anyone. And it's especially hard to get out of the friendship if someone has a disability. You feel obliged to make them certain concessions. So therefore it's quite shocking, yet understandable, that Agnes lashes out at the girl and that the girl takes it the way she does. However, the disabled girl's attempts to get back at Agnes and curry favour with the rest of her classmates make me squirm. I saw many such incidents myself at school.

Less convincing, however, and it's a major reservation, is the sincerity of Elin's feelings towards Agnes. I just can't help but feel that it's a passing thing. Sure she may be a lesbian or bisexual, but I can't quite decide whether she does actually love Agnes – I completely believe in Agnes' feelings. She just seems to flit too often from one person or to one thing. There's one bit where's she checking to see what's cool and what's not cool. Is this her way of getting back? Is this her way of giving her life excitement? I'm not sure. When I first saw it I was more dubious, but now that I've watched it a couple more times I'm more willing to give the film the benefit of the doubt. I mean, Elin does reach the film's conclusion and her own conclusion rather haphazardly, but in that moment she does seem completely honest. And the ending, when they literally come out of the closet, is a great moment (although perhaps a little glib. I can't bear to think what they'd have to put up with afterwards and whether their fledgling relationship would survive).

But still, even if I'm not 100% sure of Elin's feelings, it still manages to be a rather beguiling film. And this is mostly down to Rebecca Liljeberg's performance as Agnes. As I've already said, most teens I don't really care about, but Agnes is an exception. She's a smart girl with good parents but who still feels miserable. But despite this, her character is never annoying and never seems selfish. She just wants what everyone wants. She wants to be happy and she wants to feel normal. And because she goes through such an understandable range of emotions during the course of the film, and because her angst seems so genuine and deeply felt, I can't help but love the end of the film.
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9/10
One of the best love stories seen on film
slake0927 March 2005
I watched this with my girlfriend, who said it was one of the best love stories she had ever seen - I tend to agree. I am not usually a fan of love stories, preferring a good zombie flick, but this one transcended the genre by showing emotion and motivation of the characters in such an interesting way that you couldn't help but sympathize with them.

I confess that my motivations for watching it were rather base; I heard that it was about teenage Swedish lesbians, and thought that was a subject I would certainly like to explore in more depth. On the one hand, there are none of the explicit scenes I was hoping for; on the other hand, I got into the movie so much I didn't miss them.

Fans of love stories, teenage angst, girl power and anything related will definitely like this movie. Other people will like it too, you'll just have to talk them into watching it. It would certainly make a good date movie, or just one to provoke discussion and romance.
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One of the greatest movies ever made
s.phillips20 March 2000
Warning: Spoilers
F****** Amal is a movie about experiencing being in love for the first time,only it's a movie with a bit of a difference-as the love story is between two girls. The painfully shy Agnes(Rebecka Liljeberg)has been living in her town for over a year and is still without friends. The rumuors of her being a lesbian are actually true and she happens to be in love with the popular,cool and extremely beautiful Elin(Alexandra Dahlstrom). Elin kisses Agnes at Agnes' 16th birthdayparty as she is dared by her sister Jessica(Erica Carlson),but is shocked later to find she has feelings for Agnes. The girls share their first proper kiss yet afterwards,Elin chooses to ignore Agnes and starts sleeping with Johan(Mathias Rust),the boy who happens to be besotted with her. Agnes' pain is heartbreaking due to the rejection she is forced to endure throughout the duration of the movie but she is not the only one we find time to sympathise with. It is Elin also,who suffers throughout.Her boredom with the town-'F****** Amal' and the boys in the town(who aren't very smart,and spend most of their time comparing cell-phones)is clearly evident and her boredom sometimes makes her joke occasionally that she is considering being a lesbian,yet it takes her sometime to realise that she actually is. Due to her popularity/reputation,it is hard for her to admit to her true feelings,but in the end she risks everything to follow her heart. As a teenager myself,I felt that this movie was the most accurate and moving portrayl of teenage life since the amazing television series,'My So-Called Life'. The movie deals with the pain of alienation,teen-angst and depression with no hint of exaggeration but an incredible amount of realism. The first real kiss between the two girls in the backseat of a car with Foreigners'I Want To Know What Love Is' playing on the soundtrack is without a doubt,one of the movie's greater moments.Agnes asks,'What are we doing?'and Elin responds,'I don't know,but we are so f****** cool'. Firstly this movie should be praised for it's originality and it's incredible genius,due to it's accuracy of teen life which was captured wonderfully by director and screenwriter,Lukas Moodysson. It should appeal to anyone,regardless of sexuality and I already consider it one of the greatest movie's ever made.
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10/10
Engaging. Honest. Touching. Simply brilliant.
CoffeeChic12 February 2003
That's right. :)

This no nonsense film is about two schoolgirls exploring life and love. One is a lesbian and the other is a confused heterosexual. 'Fucking Amal' delicately tells a story between these two girls. This is very different from the popular Hollywood teen movies (such as '10 Things I Hate About You') because it is NOT stereotypical, unrealistic and over-the-top. 'Fucking Amal' is a touching and beautiful teen movie. I would rate it 9 out of 10.

P.S. I used to enjoy the Hollywood teen movies....I don't know what I was thinking. 'Fucking Amal' makes you see the light. Trust me.
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10/10
Wow
Rune Eresberg30 April 2000
I'd got negative feedback from my friends concerning this movie. They said it was disappointing and that it did not live up to the hype. I couldn't disagree more. I thought it was beautiful. The way Moodyson captured the essence of the movie I thought was stunning. It's all about love. They being lesbians made it even more compelling IMO. I was stunned by the greatness of the movie. I hadn't hoped for much, but I could recognize myself in the movie. Agnes' parents were masterfully portrayed. Her mother was just that too caring and annoying. Her father was the "American" voice of reason, but the way Agnes reacted to him was IMO realistic. I loved the movie, and thought it was one of the best movies I've ever seen. If it wasn't, I wouldn't have been wasting my time at 5am writing about it. That's probably the greatest compliment I can give it. I think I've fallen in love with the protagonists. :-) Neuf points. Not many movies make my cry -and- laugh at he same time. This one did.
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9/10
Like Reality TV - but not pointless.
Flagrant-Baronessa13 May 2006
Director Lukas Moodysson's Show Me Love is an eerily accurate commentary on 1990s teenagers in small-towns in Sweden. In fact, it's accurate almost to the point of being mistaken for Reality. It is above all other things a love story, exploring the relationship of two closet-lesbians girls at a modern High School. Many people thought Show Me Love was worth checking out for its bizarre premise alone, but only a few minutes into the movie you can tell that it is one of the most grounded, realistic portrayals in European cinema.

The dialog, for one, is fantastically realistic and blunt and this makes Show Me Love a very subtle film; it shows things exactly the way they are, down to the very recognizable expressions that the teenagers use and the awkwardness of interacting at that age. It criticizes stereotypes and socioeconomic classes and makes a point without preaching and this is something that is extremely rare in Hollywood cinema and that you can perhaps appreciate more in international films.

The film is not devoid of High School stereotypes, but they are much more subtle than you'd find in the average, American mainstream high school flick. There is no distinct jock, no perfect prom-queen and no nerd. Instead you have the seemingly popular girl, Elin (Alexandra Dahlström), who in fact struggle with many things, including her sexuality and somewhat Emo (although the term "Emo" wasn't coined yet) girl, Agnes, who is anything but popular and has mountains of worries. These two teenagers find a connection and an attraction that is entirely inappropriate. They fall in love.

Elin and Agnes are extremely likable characters; Elin despite her constant need for attention and her popular status, and Agnes despite her sometimes whiny depression. What they have in common is that they're both fundamentally lonely young girls who are fed up with their places in life, and in Åmål—("Why do we have to live here?") probably the most boring city in Scandinavia.

Show Me Love is one of my favorite movies for its simplicity. No fancy editing, no effects, no flashy lightning or anything even remotely out-of-place. In this sense, it follows many rules of Dogme 95 film-making. It just stays true to the gloomy, boring, small town that is Åmål. But don't let this scare you off, because this is not a depressing movie – it is a delightful and warming film with heart.
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10/10
the best film on teens, Moodysson's best,Rebecka and Alexandra are stunning
stephencheevers26 April 2007
"I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS" by FOREIGNER? how could this overblown 80's ballad soundtrack one of the most touching and romantic scenes of the last few years and work,well that what makes F**king AMAL,Lukas Moodysson debut film his most joyous and heartfelt film, it's his greatest film(yes, even better then Lilya 4-ever and Together)but in my opinion his most underrated too.

What makes this is best film, well for starters this movie has probably the best teenage cast ever and not a single twenty something like in Amercian teen movies are in sight, the leads Alexandra Dahlstrom as Elin has the toughest part as her character changes from selfish cool girl into lovelorn girl who'll throw it all away for love, she's great as Elin and hasn't really since F**king Amal been able to escape Elin and has been typecast in films since, and last i hear-ed is starring in a dutch soap,pity as she has talent.But for me she overshadowed by Rebecka Liljiberg as Agnes, the best parts of the movie are the first 42 minutes when its mostly Agnes and Elin and the last ten minutes when they come out of the closet and the o'boy scene, but between then Rebecka is kind of pushed to the side and the film suffers when she's not around, she pulls are heart strings and never lets go, for example the way she acts with her face reminds me of Anna Karina in her early Godard roles especially in the scene when Elin kisses her and then finds out it was a joke,so sad that it made this grown guy cry.She 's so great in this film like Alexandra she hasn't really produced anything to match her role here and has become a mother of two and a doctor but come on hasn't any top director not seen these two girls and not want to hire them.

Moodysson shouldn't be ignored either his screenplay is the best written about teenagers and parents too.The dogma style camera work is excellent too and keeps it fresh and kind of cool.

So what keeps this film from been a ten star film well as Rebecka is perfect in her role as a loner it's just a pity that she is so cute and good looking and in my eyes actually better looking then Alexandra,that you just don't buy her as a outcast but thats being too picky.Also the film is way too short that you wished had at least another twenty minutes added onto it as some plot lines hadn't been wrapped up,Did Jessica dump MArkus and get with Johan,Did Agnes forgive her mother,The coming out to the parents would have been a interesting storyline, it wouldn't have harmed the film in my eyes.

Although F**king Amal won Four Swedish Oscars and bet TITANIC at the box-office, it hasn't traveled too well outside Sweden compared to Moodysson following two films for starters it took six years to reach these shores as a d.v.d and only as a part of the Moodysson Box Set,also Moodysson himself hasn't exactly been kind to the film that gave him a career in the film industry he's been dismissive of it in interviews over the years also he is probably living in the shadow of his debut film in Sweden and probably hates the fact that his arty films haven't done as well.

This is his film that will stand as his most commercial and enjoyable film to date and if he goes on making unsuccessful films box office wise he might have to return to his first film and make a sequel which i'm hoping for.
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10/10
Fabulous! Every young person in the world growing up gay should see this movie.
jentb29 June 2002
This is the movie I've been waiting over 30 years to see. Although it takes place in a small town in Sweden it could have been a small town in Pennsylvania, where I spent the majority of my teenage years. Growing up gay in a small town is obviously a different experience for everyone but for most people it's not a time that conjures up joyous memories.

Although Sweden is considered to be a more tolerant country, having spent a year there as an exchange student I didn't feel any more comfortable about being gay there than in Pennsylvania. It wasn't until several years after living there that I finally came out and telling my Swedish friends was just as difficult as it was telling anyone else. I say this not for those who have seen the film but for those who haven't and might not because they may be put off by foreign films. Although I was once fluent in Swedish and always enjoy hearing it spoken, I've unfortunately forgotten enough that I relied heavily on the subtitles just as most people will. I've watched it twice in three days and will watch it many times more because it's the first movie about gay teens that left me with a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart. The teens in this movie have it better than I did but not unrealistically so. It's true and honest and very real. It's not easy being a teenager but it's too often unbearble being a gay teenager. This movie captures the essence of what it is to be a teenager, gay or straight. For gay teens I hope it will give you hope and show that you're not so different. For straight teens I hope you'll see that we're not so different.
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Terrific Film! Loved It.
WilliamCKH29 January 2007
It took me awhile but I finally got around to watching this movie. The title "Fucking Amal" didn't sound too appealing, and knowing on top of that, it was a teenage lesbian love, well..... But I loved it. The two girls, Agnes and Elin, are such wonderful characters. They are teenagers in every way but who are so human at the same time. My complaint about most movies about teenagers is that they usually lack any humanity. They are often shown very one dimensionally, very cruel, shallow, and spoiled human beings and when they are finally shown to have redeeming qualities, it usually comes across as forced and/or overly sentimental. The reason I liked this movie and these characters was that they rang true, all the way through, and their bad qualities were just really masking the good qualities that were inside them all along. It reminded me of another movie I really liked, "L'esquive" (Games of Love and Chance) a French film which came out a couple of years ago. It beat out many big budget, high grossing films at the French Academy Awards that year (The Cesars). Check it out if you liked this one!
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8/10
The way teen rom-coms should be made
Asa_Nisi_Masa219 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I remember when this was playing in the Curzon cinema in Soho, London, back when it was first released. I lived in the UK capital back then, and was intrigued by its movie poster in the cinema's window. This Swedish movie's title instinctively suggested something very different to what it actually is - in fact, just from its title I imagined it to be something along the lines of Baise-moi or Irreversible. Obviously, this couldn't be further from the truth, and in fact I must say I am baffled by Moodysson's choice of title. Perhaps he wanted to stress the dilemma of the two girls in the movie as deriving specifically from the provincial small-mindedness of Amal, the town they live in, or maybe this seemingly rude title has a subtly different meaning and spirit in Swedish, even when it's left in English.

Anyway, all this is irrelevant in face of the fact that after many positive comments from friends, I have now also seen for myself that Moodysson does indeed have a genuine love, interest and respect for teenagers. At the same time, he's never over-earnest and melodramatic about their dramas. He sheds light onto their world with sensitivity and humour, applying the same lightness of touch in the similarly believable and endearing portraits of the grown-ups and children (for example, Agnes's parents and her kid brother as well as Elin and Jessica's mother). Anyone who has only ever seen Hollywood stereotypes of teenagers - of their struggles with conforming to peer pressure while seeking their own individuality, their battles to obtain and maintain popularity within the group, etc., will feel like they're finally breathing some fresh mountain air when they watch this! The homosexual theme is also treated with a lightness of touch I have rarely witnessed on film, yet also without flippancy or voyeurism. The reasons that the two girls are attracted to one another are extremely believable, as are the reasons why Elin does not feel involved with the boys surrounding and ogling her. Her emotional growth during the course of the movie is also very believably done. On the other hand, we all feel like a little piece of Agnes was in many of us all those years ago, and this cannot but make her character seem that much more endearing. I smiled when she played Albinoni's Adagio for organ, violin and strings in G minor just before attempting to slit her wrists (quite obviously trying not to cut in too deep though!), as this was indeed also a favourite of mine when as a teenager, I indulged in some similar existential self-pity! One of my favourite scenes involved Agnes's little brother asking their mother the definition of the word lesbian. I loved the shift in the woman's mood - from smiley, relaxed and forward-thinking parent trying to instill the spirit of tolerance into her children, to awkward and flustered, when she suddenly realises the lesbian in question may be no one other than her own beloved daughter! Moodysson coaxed wonderfully spontaneous and fresh performances from his young actors, especially the two leads playing Agnes and Elin, but also the girl who plays Elin's older sister Jessica. I highly recommend this movie to anyone, but think it would be ideal to break up watching too many bleak or hefty movies in a row - say, three Italian neo-realists followed by two late Bresson movies followed by a Shakespearian tragedy of your choice! Just include this movie (sorry, I cannot name it as the IMDb database lists it as containing "prohibited words", haha!) in among that list and you'll have your much-needed dose of light-heartedness. Though without any of the triteness and shallowness that often characterises mainstream romantic comedies or teen movies.
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10/10
A burning stone in my chest + A WARNING FOR Spanish VIEWERS
joalogon26 June 2006
Well, this is not a technical comment on this movie, not talking about how it's great the acting or the script. Just have to satisfy my complete need of communicating my feelings about it.

Which is the way I know that i've seen a GREAT film?, because after the end, when the lights are on, I feel severely betrayed because someone threw me back to my real life without mercy.....and that's not nice

For the last 24 hours I've had a burning stone in the place of my heart. In spite of the warnings from another user, I've fallen deeply in love with the two girls, both are charming (my wife's gonna kill me for this comment :-), she's wonderful, but nothing to do, a piece of wood instead of a heart, it's always me who cries in the films) and all the other characters are excellent - Agnes' father is the embodiment of sweetness.

The story is nothing important, it's all just about how feelings are treated. Music is very well used all over the film to help arise feelings and the acting of the two teenagers it's surprisingly mature making you travel from their sadness and their rage to their happiness without any effort. Immages of their faces remain in your own mind well after the end, like Eilin challenging her friends after the conversation in the toilet, the kissing in the car or the perfect expression of beauty in Agnes' face when she ...ejem thinking about her love or hears the feelings of Eilin from her own mouth.

Who may think this is a film about homosexuality, maybe has not understood the film, it's so natural, how could it be otherwise?, they are the only two characters who rise above mediocrity, they have to be together, no matter if they are girls or boys!!, they could not fit anyone else. I still have a doubt if they are really homosexuals or if they are just exploring life and feelings, their future could have told them....if it was not just a film.

The LOVE scene in the backseat of the car is one of the most powerful love scenes (if not the most) in the history of cinema, heterosexual or not.

Just a comment about the stupid US title (Show me love), it's maybe the worst one I could imagine, completely apart from the spirit of the movie. If there's something this film IS NOT, it's a silly teen movie.

A ten out of ten and without any doubt my teen favourite and one of my all time favourites.

PS - For everyone who loved this film and still doesn't know her, I strongly recommend the Spanish director Isabel Coixet, films such as "Things I never told you", or "My life without me" wont disappoint you.

A WARNING FOR Spanish VIEWERS

I have reviewed the film with Spanish subtitles and I'm bitterly disappointed, after having seen it with English ones and doubled into Spanish, I have to say that the Spanish subtitles are a lesson of HOW NOT TO TRANSLATE A TEXT.

Against my principles I recommend the doubled version, much more accurate, the best choice being the Original Swedish with English subtitles.

The Spanish subtitles continuously destroy the spirit of the film. For example, the GREAT dialog in the car, ending by "I don't know - but we're so f****** cool", is translated as "We're so well together"!!!!!?!??!?!?!?!?. And the scene getting out of the toilet, instead of "we're going to f******" is written "we're going to make love", and so on. ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, it has nothing to do with the knowledge of the language or the need of cutting the phrase because it's too long, it's a VERY BAD understood way of "not disturbing" the viewer. A 0/10 to the subtitles.

On the other hand, for those who can't get the English subtitles (not available in the Spanish DVD - why????), the Spanish doubled version is quite faithful to the original (compared to the English translation and the swearwords, quite easy to understand from the original) and the acting of doublers is nice, the only problem is that in that version actors seem a bit more mature than the original where they remain more childish (maybe actors are older). In Spain in general double acting is fine, because we receive many stranger films and fifty years ago when people couldn't read a good effort was done in that sens.

If you want to compare with the English translation you may at

"http://amal.host.sk/fascript.htm "

there you will find what was written at the computer when Eilin was at Agnes room:

You are my sun you shine over me you warm me but I can't touch you! You are so far out I am a little planet which turns around you round round round by all the planets which you never see
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10/10
I identify with it
alx0988 June 2002
This film is absolutely amazing. The version I saw was called 'Show Me Love'. I think I got it out because I'd like to see a film with characters I can actually identify with, being a teen girl in a booooring town myself. The portrayal of teenaged life is near-perfect, the acting is great, the characters actually have personality! I could rave on and on about it for hours. There's not one bad thing about it. It jumped to number one on my favourite movie list immediately. Interestingly the number one used to be Dancer in the Dark, and I've noticed the films are very alike, in the filming-style as well as the realistic storyline, believable characters and stuff. It has a good mix of humour and drama, which I have to have in a movie. What more can I say? I can only hope there will be a sequel, although I know there won't be knowing my luck... I do have a chronic hatred of movie sequels, but I'd love to see what happens after the toilet scene!
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10/10
Saw it two days ago, still can't forget it.
SlimeyPete17 November 2002
Wow... I usually hate romance movies but this one was fantastic! For a start it's totally devoid of Hollywood-style mush and "swelling strings" music. It's very down-to-earth, with a (for once!) realistic portrayal of teenage life, and believable, interesting characters. The acting ranges from good to stunning, Liljeberg giving the best performance I've seen...well, ever (it doesn't hurt that she's very pretty too). And it's very refreshing to see a film about lesbians that doesn't sensationalise the topic.

A great feelgood movie, with just enough grittiness to stop me feeling sick like I do in so many US (and British) films. As soon as it finished I legged it downstairs to order the DVD (not available in the UK! WHY??!!).
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10/10
One of the coolest life-affirming films
crush-35 December 2000
Words would never do justice to the magic of this gem. Fucking Amal (FA) is a film so refreshing it's like an oasis in the desert of mediocre movies around us these days. It's a movie unlike any other I've ever seen.

Watching Fucking Amal was one of the greatest film experiences I've ever had. The uplifting emotion I had while Robyn pop tune came up at the end of the film was just so good, It stays in your heart.

Everybody already knows the story so I won't go through it again. The story structure is classical and can be universally understood - a couple is in love but can't be together because of a social taboo. Titanic uses this structure too but in a very tired way. It is a kind of universality that mainstream films always aims for but hardly do they achieve it at the level of truthfulness FA does. FA is the first film I've ever seen where popular movies and art cinema meet on an equal terms.

FA's striking difference from most movies is the director's genuine affection to his characters. Rarely does a film whose director's love for his characters shine through this brightly. So how could you not grow to love the film and its characters yourself? That's why there are magic spells in so many scenes. A touching comment I found on a fan site says, "FA is not a movie. It's love, love, love.", said it all. Here is a filmmaker who succeeded in transforming his medium into something greater than the medium itself. The notion that it is a film is no longer enough because it has encompassed something larger in our mind.

Lukas Moodysson has given us a precious gift we want to cherish not just as a film experience but a life experience. The film hits right to the core of our basic needs - the needs to be loved and accepted, the needs to feel alive and to have faith in our own life. Like the song at the ending of the film - Show Me love, show me life, show me what it's all about - our heroines show us that even in a dead-end place like Amal, life can still find a way to manifest itself if we have faith in it, that life is possible.

In FA, all these seemingly far-fetched ideals come through as attainable without falling into mere propaganda and sentimentalism because the director's own trust in human potential (both bad and good) and empathy for the characters are everywhere in the film. These characters are no cardboard type. Just like anybody at any age, they are capable of being cruel and mean. (Some reviewers say because they are teens, they can't help being mean. I don't think it's just for teen. Adults can be cruel and mean too, only in different ways). The director treats their problems and dilemmas the way they deserve, that is, without condescension. They are equally serious as any problems adults have. I think he got it right on. Pain and frustration know no age. Just because you are young doesn't mean your problems and feelings are less important. They are usually portrayed as lesser because that is a general adult attitude toward youth.

If FA is not a movie, if it is love; it would be not only love, but also like love itself in being a most generous gift a person can give: gift in its courage to be optimistic, modest and tender in these times when it would be easier and more cool to be cynical (look at art and independent films these days and you'll get a clue). All these without failing to remind us that life is never easy. But there is still a hope that we can have the life we want if we are willing to earn it. The film's grand finale - with its ingenious and hilarious juxtaposition between a pop song (Underground) and the assertion of individual freedom coupled with postmodern sexuality, a jab at small-mindedness, and the ecstasy of love redeemed - makes it one of the coolest and most appropriate life-affirming films to open the new century.
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10/10
teenage love at its best
Cade (snapnoodle)26 February 2005
I just watched Show Me Love for the first time and I am just amazed. The fact that there can be such truth and beauty in such a small, unassuming film never ceases to surprise me. I'll admit that I was Agnes when I was a young 16 year old lesbian. I mean who wasn't in love with the "Elin" of their school? Everything about this movie rang true for me and for everyone who has seen it. Is it the "Rosebud" of our time...probably not. Does it put to shame all of the superficial, emotionally devoid teenage movies that America seems obsessed with...without a doubt.

The part that I loved the most is that while Agnes is supposed to be the shy and meek one in reality she had more courage and guts from the get go than Elin ever had. From the hitch- hiking scene to the bathroom scene it's clear that true bravery comes in the form of saying something and then simply following through and following your heart. That's why I love this movie. This movie isn't about the leads being GORGEOUS or famous or talked up in Teen People or whatever. It's about showing what real high school, teenage romances are. They're messy and embarrassing and can get you in a lot of trouble with your parents...but in the end, it's the only reason you want to go back to school the next day.

This movie is a triumph of the spirit and a joy to watch.
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10/10
I HAD to write another review, I feel my first one did not do the movie justice ;)
Julian Luna20 June 2000
The most precious moments in the movie are often silent moments. I have this image, in my mind, of Agnes and Elin at the back of the car that they hope will take them to Stockholm, this image where their faces are lighted for a few seconds before the driver closes the door and goes to investigate the engine. Agnes looks so shy, barely dares to look at Elin, and Elin herself has that wonderful look in her eyes, half perplexed, half bashful... That moment, among many others, is one that will forever stay in my heart, and yet I feel that no "spoken" scene could have had the same impact. And I face the same problem when I try to talk about the movie, explain why I have liked, when I try to communicate just how much I was moved by it. The attraction I feel towards Fucking Åmål goes way beyond the movie, it seems that it appeals with some of the deepest chords of my innermost self, come part of me that I may be only barely aware of myself, and where all my emotional "fuel" lies. I feel very frustrated whenever I try to explain my love for the movie, for it looks like no words can ever convey my feelings. Whenever I come back from seeing Fucking Åmål at the cinema, I put some music on (I've been listening to Nick Cave's Where The Wild Roses Grow way over a hundred times, you should all listen to it!), and either stare blankly at the ceiling, or take a pencil and write. I don't know how long this movie will keep its hold on me. Sometimes, I hope it will last forever, but other times I become scared since there is so much beauty in it that almost everything else that I see around me disappoints cruelly, looks coarse and worthless... Anyway, there's no way to thank Rebecca, Alexandra, Lukas and all those who partook in the dream that was Fucking Åmål, for gracing us with such a blissful vision. Thanx all!
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8/10
A lovely rush (possible spoiler)
alice liddell15 March 2000
Warning: Spoilers
This is a lovely film, that may not be the most original (two teenagers from different sides of the tracks defy peers and parents to fall in love) or profound film in the world, but sometimes we just want to wallow in a film which has got a simple, feel-good narrative, endearing, entertaining characters, comic situations, a profusion of details about what it's like to be an outsider, an unrequited lover or maybe just plain frustrated with a provincial environment. AMAL offers all this, and, despite a few subtle, dark hints, makes you leave the cinema with a warm, nostalgic glow.

Originality is vitally important, and AMAL will possibly not sear as long in the memory as the more elaborate anguish of RUSHMORE or AMERICAN PIE. Filmed on reverse-film stock, it seems to emulate Dogma, and there is a freshness in the editing and shooting, but the film's control is free of spontaneity or narrative danger. The plot is so schematic that the outcome

is never in doubt, and there is a strong temptation not to take adolescent angst so seriously. Everyone is so nice or else they're just peer-terrified kids.

And yet I loved this film. Maybe because Agnes' despair reminded me of my own miserable youth, right down to the Morrissey and CASABLANCA posters, the inconceivable-to-me-now diary honesty, the self-dramatisation (putting on Albinoni's adagio to soundtrack crisis), the alienating those even less fortunate, the wallowing in 'serious' literature, the refusal, at all costs, to let one's family in. The slightly old-fashioned nature of Agnes' character makes me think that the director is also dramatising his own youth.

Erin seems a much more believable character, living her life according to the diktats of style magazines, dating an endless cycle of dull yobs she knows to be inferior, but knows she must date to remain 'normal'. Even before she meets Agnes, she is profoundly disillusioned with the repetitive mundanity of her life, which makes her rejection of her idiotic compadres and her 'transgression' all the more convincing.

What pleases most about this film is its attention to detail, the codes and mores of teenage youth. Erin is terrified of admitting her attraction to Agnes because she won't be normal, but she should look around her - teenage kicks largely consists of TV bingo and lounging on park benches; in one hilarious sequence, two boys, with clear, cheeky, homoerotic overtones, compare their mobile telephones ('Mine's smaller than yours' 'No mine is!') in an inverse of traditional macho bragadaccio (The film is very good on mobile phone culture, the way kids talk in person like they're on the phone, and can't communicate honestly unless they're on the phone); the gobbling of any old tablets - including those for heartburn - with Coke; discussing the 'doughboy' qualities of Leo; the inept spitting on cars off bridges; the terror of parental intrusion of private space.

But the film is emotionally true, too - I remember never feeling as much as when I was younger, and Agnes's suicide attempt is unwatchable. The schematic portrayal of space and families breaks too with real emotion. What did Erin's dad do to her Mum? Agnes's dad looks uncannily like Christopher Walken, and although he is so nice as to be almost comically clumsy, there is great pathos in his story about his own lonely youth and the current happiness we don't quite believe. When he talks about a peer who isn't doing so well now, but was obviously the class golden boy, we cut briefly to his wife who walks by, and a whole other world of possibilities, failures and compromises opens up which qualifies the triumphant climax, if it never dissipates its thrill.
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9/10
Real life
rbverhoef20 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
This is a beautiful movie. It is about a girl with no friends, Agnes. It is also about a girl with lots of friends, Elin. Both are not happy. They live in the boring place called Åmål. The parents of Agnes throw her a birthday party and no one is coming accept her 'friend'. She is her friend because they both have no friends. At the same time Elin and her sister Jessica are going to another party. Elin says she wants to go to Agnes her party and have some laughs over there. We know her real reason.

Agnes is in love with Elin and when Elin and Jessica arrive Elin kisses her. It was a bet, but Agnes doesn't know that. Later on Elin apologizes and they end up having a real kiss. Elin will call Agnes. What will happen from there I will not reveal.

This is a very true movie about teenagers having difficulties about their emotions. It is not come cliché story mostly made in Hollywood where teenagers are just stupid tools for some laughs and cries. This movie is very funny and touching in an honest way. We care about most of the characters because they are trying the best they can. Elin played by Alexandra Dahlström and Agnes played by Rebecka Liljeberg give warm performances. They are both very lovely and although Elin does some mean things you will not hate her for it. You know she has some problems herself, she is not happy and she must learn how to deal with that. In Sweden this film had more visitors than Titanic and in my opinion it deserved that.
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10/10
Fucking excellent
Karin-915 November 1998
Fucking Åmål is a masterpiece in it´s caption to youth and swedish small townlife. The way teenagers´life is shown as it really is, difficult, scary and wonderful is marvelously done. The dialogue is exact, the setting is almost documentary and the actresses/actors glow. They are young, but very promising. The hopeful tune in the movie makes you feel that you can do just anything. Every swedish teenager can relate to the movie soundtrack, and things in the plot. The movie is daring and let´s hope that USA wont cut it down. Lukas Moodyson deserves every awards available.
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10/10
A beautiful and touching movie
mfg-131 August 2002
I saw the movie the first time a couple of days ago, and until now I've seen it five times. I am 46 now, but I was deeply moved by the characters in it.

You see, when you reach my age, I think you will realize that mentally you feel yourself much, much younger. In spite of my age, the movie touched my heart like no film has ever done before and perhaps no other film may ever do.

I guess that in a way, when looking at the film I also felt a bit sorry for myself, being so lonely all my life.

When I was young, I was too shy to try to contact any girls. My wife knew me then, and she says that she liked me a lot. When we met again some years later, she asked If I could marry her, and I said yes. I think that without marrying her, my further life would have been a complete misery. However, as persons we are quite different, and sadly, have not so much in common.

So, I have now watched the movie five times, and I feel a compelling desire to watch it over and over again! Maybe I am trying to live my own teen years again, searching for all the things I missed then.

However, I think this movie truly has something to say for everyone, irrespective of how young or old they may be!
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