Wednesday, November 12, 2014

We are the Best! Captures the Essence of Punk Rock

I am a huge fan of independent films.  I love watching a movie with no A list actors and feeling so absorbed by the subject matter.  You believe and relate to the story so much more when you aren't staring at the face of Brad Pitt or Seth Rogen.  No matter how fabulous an actor is you will always know that you are in fact watching them perform.  With independent films however, we get the opportunity to really feel the authenticity of the subject matter.  Such is the case with We are the Best! A Swedish indie film about three young girls growing up in Stockholm during the early part of the 1980’s.  Bobo and her friend Klara are punk rockers and thus are outcasts.  Their hatred for their parents, school, and society is matched only by their fervent loyalty to each other and their adulation of punk music.  The film focuses on the two girls as they navigate the stresses of rough home lives and the constant battle that is public school.  However, after signing up for the communal band space at their local kids center, the two decide that they MUST start a band.  Soon they recruit a new friend named Hedwig.  The quiet, introverted, and religious girl is a sharp contrast to Bobo and Klara but the three soon become inseparable as Hedwig teaches the other two about how to play music.  The film is part coming of age tale, part music documentary, and part love story.  It’s incredibly hard to capture the spirit of something like punk rock.  To capture what it truly means or the effect it has on some people’s lives is supremely difficult and We are the Best! does a masterful job at showcasing the essence of punk through the the lives of these three girls.  Adolescence is a tough time for everyone and normal issues like boys, teachers, and parents are present throughout the film.  The difference is that the movie manages to show how punk is not only an escape for these girls through the music and style of nonconformity, but also how it is in and of itself a state of mind that allows you to do whatever you want.  Capturing the true DIY spirit of the genre, We are the Best! manages to avoid clichés and assumptions about punk while delivering a message we can all relate to: being young can be hard, but that shouldn't stop you from defining yourself the way you see yourself.  It shouldn't stop you from being what you want to be.  And that is what makes the genre and this film so wonderful.

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