By Don Simpson | April 8, 2014
We Are the Best! is certainly one of the most honest portrayals of adolescent punk culture that I have ever seen. (Check out my 8 out of 10 review from AFI Fest 2013.) Adapted from writer-director Lukas Moodysson’s wife, Coco Moodysson’s semi-autobiographical graphic novel, Never Goodnight, We Are the Best! perfectly captures the angsty adolescent desire for self-expression and individuality. We Are the Best! prompted me to look back at my own glory days as an adolescent punk rocker in the mid-1980s, making me realize that the anti-establishment mentality and rejection of mainstream society that defined my personal punk ethos, also defined my feelings as an adolescent.
Not unfamiliar with telling stories from a female vantage point (Show Me Love, Lilya 4-Ever), Moodysson is able to maintain the unique perspective of the graphic novel. Moodysson seems to truly understand the underlying bonds between Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin), while skillfully refraining from over-dramatizing their relationship. Other than some venomous insults from the peanut gallery, their tomboyish style is not a stereotypical reflection of their sexuality. Bobo, Klara and Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne) never seem to question their gender; instead, it is their unwavering confidence in themselves that allows them to proudly not adhere to the conformist notion of beauty. Moodysson also allows the girls to wear their adolescent naiveté like a badge of honor, perhaps recognizing that it was a similar naiveté that produced such great female punk bands as The Raincoats, The Slits and LiLiPUT/Kleenex.
One of my favorite films from AFI Fest 2013, We Are the Best! is scheduled to be released in select theaters on May 30, 2014 courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. For now, check out the film’s brand new trailer: