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With: Alexandra Dahlström, Rebecca Liljeberg, Erica Carlson, Mathias Rust, Stefan Hörberg, Josefine Nyberg, Ralph Carlsson, Maria Hedborg, Axel Widegren, Jill Ung, Lisa Skagerstam, Lina Svantesson, Johanna Larsson, Elinor Johansson, Jessica Melkersson
Written by: Lukas Moodysson
Directed by: Lukas Moodysson
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: Swedish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 89
Date: 10/23/1998
IMDB

Show Me Love (1998)

3 Stars (out of 4)

I Kissed a Girl

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

If the phrase "Swedish Film" makes you think of Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal, Persona), then the new Swedish film Show Me Love should put that notion to rest. Forgoing any kind of Bergmanian Great Theme, i.e. families, religion, or old age, Show Me Love is a simple, charming, and slightly edgy romance between two teenage girls, one that rivaled Titanic at the Swedish box office.

Show Me Love follows shy adorable outsider Agnes (Rebecca Liljeberg) and beautiful outgoing popular blonde Elin (Alexandra Dahlstrom). The only thing they really have in common is a feeling of being stuck in the dismal and boring small town of Amal. (The film's original title was Fucking Amal.) Agnes throws a birthday party and no one shows up -- a devastating experience for a teen. At the last moment, as a gag, Elin and a couple of her popular groupies show up. On a bet, Elin kisses Agnes but later finds herself unable to stop thinking about her. The two girls begin to meet more and more frequently, each dealing with the problem of crossing teenage class lines as well as their newfound homosexuality. The finale of this movie is not a chase scene or a slam-bang action scene; it's simple and ingenious. The two girls are locked in a school bathroom. Slowly, other students begin to crowd around the door, knocking and yelling. The group of movie critics I was with applauded at the girls' ultimate solution.

Director Lukas Moodysson uses raw camera movements to highlight the adolescent anguish of first love, and it rings true. My only complaint is that the camera stays too close on the actors for large portions of the picture, and I felt constricted. But Show Me Love has a lot of punch, and I found myself caught up in the romance and in the triumphant climax.

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