Confession: when this movie was advertised where I live, I dismissed it because I thought the posters showed three boys. Meh, just another coming-of-age movie for the lads, I thought. I’ll pass.
Silly me. We Are the Best! is charming, funny, and nostalgic in a way that I didn’t expect for a movie set years before I was born.
Best friends Bobo and Klara are the last defenders of punk in their high school in 1982. Fed up with the taunts of their blonde, lipglossed classmates (“Punk is dead. Didn’t you know that?!”), feeling betrayed by their former allies (namely Klara’s older brother, who now listens to Joy Division), and goaded into it by the older boys at their youth club, they decide to start a punk band. Quickly realising that even punk bands need at least one person who can actually play guitar, they mount a campaign to recruit shy loner Hedvig for her guitar skills. Improv haircuts, ill-advised phone calls, rooftop hijinks and (some) punk ensues.
These three young teenagers having to deal with sexist abuse from both their peers (“You’re a girl band!”) and adults who think they know better: the scene where the youth group leader spends five minutes telling Hedvig how to play electric guitar, only for her to tell him he tuned it wrong and then play the hell out of it — be still my cold, feminist heart!
Lonely Bobo; spiky, effervescent Klara; and socially awkward but oddly mature Hedvig: all of them brought back memories of feelings that thirteen-year-old me experienced. I always admired the Klaras among my friends, but if we’re being honest here, I was a Hedvig with a little bit of Bobo. Turns out there’s a lot about the teenage girl experience I had in common with these 1980s Swedish wannabe punks, despite having grown up twenty years later and several countries away.
I rented We Are the Best! on Amazon Video (£3.50/$6.99 for a month’s rental), and it’s also available on iTunes. Totally worth a watch.