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Together (2001)
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by Dr Nick

"A big wonderful porridge of a film"
4 stars

You know you’re watching something special when yet another ABBA song is played and it doesn’t make you want to throw things at the screen. Together is very special indeed. One of the most heart-warming movies of the new millenium, it's an absolute delight from start to finish. A comedy, it also manages to tackle serious issues like domestic abuse and women's rights without ever being preachy or biased. Don't see this film on your own - "The only thing worth anything is being together".

Lukas Moodyson is one of the more interesting Swedish filmmakers in recent memory. Never willing to settle for one genre or taking the easy option, he’s not afraid of tackling difficult subjects. From teenage lesbian love in Show Me Love to amateur porn production in A Hole In My Heart, Moodysson has managed to captivate audiences all over the world in a way that no other modern Swedish Filmmaker has been able to. He had his international breakthrough with Together in 2000, one of the most heart-warming and sweetest films of the last decade.

A film about human relationships, it follows a group of young adults as they try to "revolt against the bourgeois way of living" by living together in a leftist commune. And they're a colourful bunch. Elizabeth has just left her abusive husband Rolf and is seeking refuge at the commune together with her two children. Erik has disowned his rich parents and is working as a welder on orders from the communist party. Klas, dealing with the difficulties of being homosexual in 1970's Sweden is in love with Lasse, another member of the house. Anna is Lasse's ex-wife, who has recently turned lesbian. Goran, Elizabeth's brother, is a man who always tries to please everybody else, without ever consulting his own feelings. There are alot of characters in the film, and as it only lasts for 100 minutes, many of them are left slightly under-developed. Luckily, they are left in the background and the more interesting characters are given most of the screen time.

Left-wing politics is high on the agenda in the house and even the children have come to accept this. With names like Moon and Tet, they have become politically aware at an early age, something which is even apparent in the games they play. We know from Show Me Love that Moodysson has an exceptional talent when it comes to extracting good performances from young actors. In Together, the child actors again are brilliant. Surrounded by adults who take every opportunity to start a petty argument, the children are also in certain aspects the most mature residents in the house. After Pippi Longstocking is banned from the house for being a capitalist and a materialist it’s hard to disagree with Eva when she says that “all adults are idiots”.

One impressive aspect of the film is how Moodysson deals with Elizabeth and Rolf’s relationship. Having beaten her during a drunken rage, it’s not an easy task to get an audience to appreciate Rolf’s efforts to get her and the children back in his life. In the end it’s almost impossible to dislike him and whether he deserves it or not you just want them to get back together.

No Swedish film set during this period would be complete without ABBA on the soundtrack, and sure enough the film is both opened and ended with ABBA tracks. Although it's not necessary, in order to fully appreciate all the cultural references in the film, it certainly helps if you're Swedish. With a soundtrack consisting mostly of Swedish prog rock, the film is also full of references to 70’s politicians, books, sporting heroes and television programmes. To a Swedish audience this will stir up many nostalgic feelings and it's unfortunately something that international audiences will miss out on.

Together is far from your average comedy. There are no jokes as such, and most of the humour stems from observing the surreal little moments that are just part of human life. It's difficult to realistically capture human relationships on screen, but this where Moodysson's main talent lies. If there's one thing that all his films have in common it's the sense of realism. It never feels scripted and the handheld camera adds to the documentary feel of the film.

Almost impossible to dislike, Together takes you back to the 70's and leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling in your stomach. Brilliant performances from both adults and children makes this one of the best feel-good films of this millennium.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5509&reviewer=345
originally posted: 04/03/05 15:08:29
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User Comments

11/09/09 Leshaye W. Wonderful film! 4 stars
5/26/03 mr. Pink A warm endearing film by one of the best new directors. 5 stars
8/28/02 viking more ABBA please !!! 5 stars
3/01/02 Unagiboy The kids were the grounded ones. How can you hate ABBA? 4 stars
10/24/01 Heather Worth a look, it creates a few laughs at all the political/sexual situations 4 stars
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  24-Aug-2001 (R)
  DVD: 10-Feb-2004



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