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"We Are the Best!" 

Make way for the little guys (and girls)

There's an exclamation point added to the title of Swedish auteur Lukas Moodysson's exuberant coming-of-age comedy, "We Are the Best!" — about three adolescent girls who decide to start a punk rock band — and the signifier couldn't be more deserved. Set in Stockholm in the early 80's, the film follows best friends Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin), who've adopted the punk look despite the punk scene being all but dead, as their fellow classmates are eager to remind them. Feeling alienated, the girls decide to start a band mainly as a way to stick it to the bullying boys who happen to be using the community center rehearsal space. They write a song, "Hate the Sport," about how much gym class sucks — and really, who can't relate to that? Though neither girl has any experience playing instruments, it's not like that's stopped any other punk groups before them. But the band really takes shape when Klara and Bobo recruit Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), a shy, Christian student who knows how to play a guitar, to join them.

Based on a loosely autobiographical graphic novel written by Moodysson's wife, Coco, "We Are the Best!" is aimlessly episodic. The film generally builds up to the girls' first live performance, and there's a subplot involving a rift in the group when they meet up with a boy punk band, but the quarrel is short-lived and always more about the friendship between the girls than their desire for the opposite sex. Plot is secondary to the flawless, natural performances from the three leads, all making their big screen debuts. Hilarious and true, they capture the fear and excitement that comes in every adolescent's life, when they get their first taste of the sweet thrill of rebellion.


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