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From August 2001
Film Review

Swordfishother July releases

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TOGETHER (Tillsammans)
4 Stars- Recommended

Together: Rolf (Michael Nyqvist), Made in Sweden
Swede Love

Official TOGETHER site (US)

STARS: Lisa Lindgren, Michael Nyqvist, Gustaf Hammarsten, Anja Lundqvist, Olle Sarri
DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY:
Lukas Moodysson
CERTIFICATE: 15 • DISTRIBUTOR and Image copyright: Metrodome
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 47mins
OPENING DATE (UK): July 13 / (US): Aug 17

What with Mr Eriksson doing rather well for the nation’s footballing prospects, it might seem like a prudent time to release Lukas Moodysson’s second feature, Together, following his excellent teen-lesbian romance Show Me Love. But this is more than just some oblique marketing ploy to capitalize on all things Swedish, for Moodysson’s film is a warm and humane comedy-drama that deserves a wide audience of its own.

Set in 1975, the film centres around life in a commune; Elisabeth (Lindgren), having tired of her husband’s drinking habit, is the new arrival, along with her children. There, she hooks up with her brother Göran (Hammarsten), a ginger-haired giant of a man whose liberal ideals – in particular his open sexual relationship with younger partner Lena (Lundqvist) – are in reality impossible to maintain.

Meanwhile, Elisabeth’s estranged hubbie Rolf (Nyqvist) is left to contemplate his lonely future, and over time decides action is needed, while the children – 10-year-old geek Stefan (Sam Kessel) and 13-year-old Eva (Emma Samuelsson) – must come to terms with their new surroundings and, of course, that old chestnut, puberty.

There are a number of characters deftly woven by Moodysson around the central family, each with a story of sorts to tell. Carefully balancing the comedic and the tragic, the director never sneers at his subjects, but justly espouses on the advantages and disadvantages of co-operative living. While it frees up newcomer Elisabeth – and nosy neighbour Margit – the long-serving members find togetherness is not all it’s cracked up to be. Despite reducing certain characters to comic caricature – Margit’s masturbating husband Ragnar, for example, although he does provide excellent, if you excuse the pun, relief – Moodysson cares for his creations with an uncommon tenderness.

With the poignant use of ABBA’s S.O.S., as well as some more traditional Swedish music, to act as a counterpoint to the action, the film is indeed a very together experience.

James Mottram

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Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction.

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