show me love (1998)

I love Robyn. I always have, and always will. When she broke into music-fame in the US with her hit “Do You Know (What It Takes)” it the late 90s, I threw down my Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet soundtrack and began worshipping a new compact disc overlord: her debut album Robyn Is Here (and she still is, as I’m currently saturating my brain with the electro-bliss of her latest album Body Talk).

I also love lesbians. I always have, and always will. I’m a “lezbro” if you will. So it’s no wonder that when I came across an L film in the G&L sec on Netflix named after one of my fav Swede lady’s biggest hits, I had to check it out. And, as luck will have it, Show Me Love did not disappoint.

Now I’ve seen my share of Euro-gayboy coming out films from the 90s (and of course, by “seen” I mean I watched Beautiful Thing so many times I wore out the VHS), but I must say, I haven’t seen many any gaygirl ones. Until now. And I gotta say, this movie sent my inner dutch boy heart a (fuzz) bumpin’.

The movie focuses on new-girl-in-town Agnes (Rebecka Liljeberg) and her (initially) unrequited love affair with Elin (Alexandra Dahlström) and how both girls deal with typical, high school homophobia as outcast and “mean girl,” respectively. There are definitely moments in this film where I was worried it would take an early-gay-cinema-esque turn for the worse, leaving our adorable Swede baby dyke protagonist out to dry, but lo, writer-director, Lukas Moodysson, has our hopeless romantic interests in mind and thusly crafts a tale of teen angst, sexual discovery and smalltown pettiness, which (from this film) seems almost the same in Sweden as here in the States.

The film is shot in a “highly naturalistic, almost documentary style” (Wikipedia’s words) which really puts you on the level of the characters as a viewer. Unlike some films (cough, Gypsy 83, cough cough) one feels the realness of the situations presented and can really empathize with what these girls are going through. All in all, I would definitely call this super-sweet, super-down-to-earth tale of young lez love a MO’ CLASSIC. It also happened to have almost 5 stars on Netflix! That’s saying a lot for a homoflick.

Another reason why I loved this film was that it really reminded me of my Dirty Jersey upbringing (Bergen County, what WHAT!?). The small town of Åmål, where the film takes place, is home to girls with oversized Fila sweatshirts, flares, too much foundation and hoop earrings, and boys with drop-crotch swishy pants, fake gold necklaces and pack-chimpanzee mentalities. It felt just like home. In one scene a dude actually says, “Jesus, you’re beautiful” to Elin after she just finished puking. It’s like I’m playing beer pong in Jeff Zitelli’s basement all over again!

But seriously, any film that features female protagonists that are not objectified, amazing writing that craftily develops a beautiful love story AND an intense makeout scene to “I Wanna Know What Love Is” in the backseat of a Fiat gets my gold seal anyday. Move over Persona, there’s a new sheriff in town.



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