We Are the Best!
by George Wolf
“Say one good thing about my life.”
“You’re in the best band in the world!”
A nice line, made even nicer in We Are the Best! (Vi ar bast!), when it’s part of a conversation between two thirteen year-old girls with punk haircuts, feisty attitudes, and no musical training whatsoever.
Anarchy in the U.K.!
Actually, it’s Sweden in 1982, when Klara (Mira Grosin) and Bobo (Mira Brakhammar) are restless teens exasperated by the lameness of their parents, other kids at school, popular music and whatever else ya got.
One afternoon at a recreation center they hear a local band rehearsing, and complain that the music is too loud. When their objections are ignored, the girls decide to form their own band and get louder.
Bobo’s on the drums, with Klara on bass and vocals, and soon they are writing their first song, a defiant anthem to their gym teacher called “Hate the Sport.” So awesome.
Their aim is to perform the song at the school talent show, but the deadline to register has passed, so the pair watches the show from the bleachers. Their mocking attention to the performers turns more serious when the introverted Hedvig (Liv LeMoyme) displays wonderful talent on the classical guitar.
Can Klara and Bobo bring out Hedvig’s inner punk, and together launch a musical shitstorm of ferocious all-girl punk revolution?
Writer/director Lukas Moodysson (Lilya 4-Ever, Mammoth) has adapted his wife Coco’s comic book into a joyous portrait of teenage rebellion.
In the early 80s, New Wave has become the hip genre, leaving Klara and Bobo as outcasts for their punk leanings. Moodysson, together with touching performances from his young cast, is able to craft a sweet, captivating microcosm of an utterly unique time in life.
Feelings of alienation, jealousy and confusion are illustrated but never overdone, as the band’s formation becomes a wonderful metaphor for finding where you belong, and finally being heard. The girls discover that getting together to bang on instruments and yell becomes a great way to do both.
The band never does get around to picking a name, which seems fitting. We Are the Best! delivers a universal message in exhilarating fashion.