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Movie Reviews

Show Me Love  

Every genre of film has the potential for disaster, but certainly, the most disaster-prone, in my cynical view, is that of the teen flick. Maybe it's just me and my cynical disdain for adolescent hijinks, but most teen movies embrace stupidity far too much for my liking. Nobody wants to alienate the teenage demographic, of course, so no judgement is passed on the sights of dumb teenagers wasting their brains on partying, alcohol, drugs, and shallowness.

Another genre prone to disaster is the so-called gay and lesbian movie. Of course, the following opinion is mere nonsense and should not be taken as accurate science, but the disaster occurs when these films act like one big inside joke that only radical gay people will understand (I doubt that even normal gay people would understand!) - luckily, I think the only real disaster in the lesbian arena was Claire of the Moon, a really bad picture which could not think of a good plot or good writing, but only the kind of propaganda which claims that the only good person is a lesbian. Of course, propaganda is one thing, but when there is no other thing, then it really sucks!

Show Me Love has flaws, but that has nothing to do with any propaganda. The film is a Swedish teen-oriented film, and is somewhat cute and insightful. Certainly, teens in this situation will find something to relate to here.

Agnes is just celebrating her sixteenth birthday, if you can call this celebrating. She has no friends, people in school make fun of her, and she has a secret; she is a lesbian, and is in love with another girl, Elin, one of the more popular girls. Her mother, believing that if Agnes builds a party, they will come, plans a birthday party and sends invitations. Of course, nobody shows up, except for one person, a wheelchair-bound girl whom Agnes, surprisingly, insults by saying she only pretended to be her friend because she had noone else to hang out with.

Later on, as Agnes is even more depressed than before, guess who shows up? Elin and her sister. The two had snuck out of the house to find a party, and show up to Agnes' house mainly because they want somewhere to go, and Elin does not want to go to a certain party where a certain guy whom she doesn`t like is expected to make the moves on her. Elin, shockingly, tells her sister that she will kiss Agnes, who is rumoured to be lesbian, for 100 dollars. And so she does. But neither girl can predict what the ramifications of this event will be.

What is interesting is that it is mostly Elin who has the emotional turmoil. Almost immediately after the kiss, she wants to apologise for hurting her. And when she and her sister finally go to the real party, she is clearly disturbed, because she realizes that she liked what happened. And she even dreams about Agnes. But in a teenage society where girls are expected to go out with the coolest guys in the school, she, as one of the more popular girls, can`t get away with liking another girl, a total nerd at that. So she quickly gets into a relationship with the very guy she claimed not to like. I thought that it was interesting that I found Elin, a shallow teeny-bopper, to be more touching than Agnes, a dark, self-loathing sort. Elin is more touching because we realize that she is not the shallow monster that her other friends and sister are. Well, she`s shallow, but not a monster. This is clear when after the party is over, she returns to Agnes' house to apologise, and they even go out and talk about life, and their future aspirations. After Elin is shocked to learn that Agnes has never kissed a girl before, she becomes impulsive and attempts to flag a vehicle to Stockholm in hopes that Agnes will find some nice girls to sleep with. (This whole sequence is more attuned to this couple as real people than the entirety of Better Than Chocolate with its couple) At the end of the night, they share a passionate kiss (to the strains of Foreigner!!!). But the next day, things change, not because Elin is heartless, but because she is scared, and that`s where the new boyfriend comes in.

I was planning to launch into another conservative debate about the oddity of 'gay teenagers' - since teenagers don`t really know who they are, and, just as some people question sex education, maybe they ought to also question the whole gay pride thing when dirrected to teens, because in both cases this may push tender minds to things they might not otherwise enter. I already said all of this in my review of All Over Me, and don`t have much need on repeating it again. Especially since this movie is much better than All Over Me, and also because any fool can see that there isn`t excatly a lot of good pickings amongst the teenage males in this group, so who can blame Agnes and Elin for wanting to get together??? They would, in fact, look adorable together, if the movie bothered to show us a relationship. The ending is hopeful and positive, but I wanted to see more.

All I can say is that I had a very strange week watching videos. I managed to see not one, but two lesbian flicks in one week. I rented this movie because I feel it is my duty to rent all the foreign films at the local Blockbuster, so it can justify supplying them. Then I rented Better Than Chocolate because my lesbian friend really liked it and wanted me to see it. Well, now I can no longer say that I`m a complete prude. Now I can say that I kind of, sort of, understand lesbians now.

David Macdonald

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