Clearly, We Are the Best! is a remembrance of someone’s 1982 life on the cusp of womanhood. It was originally a graphic novel by film director Lukas Moodysson’s wife Coco Moodysson. The story and the way it’s presented in this film probably bring us as close as any of us will ever come to understanding seventh grade girls.
It starts with two seventh-graders who agree to love each other and hate everything else. Their passion for both poles of emotion is almost more than we, or they, can handle. To express their mutual and universal disgust, they agree to start a punk band, even though their knowledge of music goes no further than banging things together. Eventually, they recruit a third girl who can actually play the guitar. “What’s a chord?” they ask her, not that they care.
The girls’ songs, and most of their conversations, begin with the same word: “hate.” Other children are deliberately mean to the little outsiders, and they’re treated as enemies. As for the well-meaning teachers and parents that trespass into the girls’ world, they’re mostly buffoons and they’re in the way.
I laughed and cried all the way through the movie as the skyrocketing, nose diving, unfathomable hormones tortured the squealing, screaming, hating, loving nearly-women up and down through their perpetual crises.
“We Are the Best”
Directed by Lukas Moodysson
2013, Swedish with English subtitles
Photo: Liv Lemoyne, Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin in “We Are the Best!.” Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures