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flick pick | Show Me Love 
[Fucking Åmål]

Directed + written by: Lukas Moodysson
Starring: Alexandra Dahlström, Rebecka Liljeberg
Language: Swedish [with English subtitles]
Look for it at the video store under:
drama, foreign [Sweden]
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: lovey
The critic says: / 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: / 5 

Plot synopsis On her 16th birthday, unpopular Agnes wants two things above all else: (1) that by some miracle she won’t have to go through with the stupid birthday party that her well-intentioned mother has planned, and (2) that her crush, Elin, will fall in love with her. Neither seems particularly likely to happen. Her mother’s gone so far as to print out invitations for Agnes to hand out to her schoolfriends – not that Agnes has any – and is busily getting the house ready for the celebration. And beautiful, popular Elin barely knows Agnes exists … though even if she did, all evidence points to the likelihood that Elin’s strictly into boys, and wouldn’t condescend to associate with anyone as un-cool as Agnes anyway. The fact is, though, that Elin’s reputed life is far more exciting than the reality, which consists largely of getting drunk with her older sister Jessica and making out – but never sleeping -- with countless very dull, very stupid boys. Elin’s so sick of life in small-town Åmål she can barely stand it. And since the mere idea of yet another boring evening spent with the same old dippy friends and idiot boys makes her want to scream, she convinces her sister to go along with her and check out Agnes’ party. Which is how Agnes happens to find the girl of her dreams sitting in her bedroom, on the night of what’s been an otherwise-awful birthday …

Review Show Me Love is an abysmally bland title for a movie that’s anything but. I mean, really, aren’t you ten times more likely to pick up a box with the title Fucking Åmål (the original Swedish title)? Damn the censors. Fortunately, a Swedish friend of a friend happened to introduce this little gem to a group of us ignorant Americans as a fine example of modern-day Swedish cinema. Fucking Åmål is both an adorable love story and a very entertaining, poignantly realistic look at what it’s like to be a teenage girl – straight or gay, popular or unpopular, living in Sweden or anywhere else in the developed world. Everything about its portrayal of teenage life rings pitch-perfect true … from the details depicting teen obsessions – mooning over yearbook pictures, repeatedly doodling your beloved’s name in your notebook before quickly scribbling over the evidence, using your friends as intermediaries to test out the potential for your love being returned – to the way in which even a kid like Agnes, with the kindest parents in the world, still feels like her family doesn’t understand  her at all. The characters, too, impeccably realized by the young actors, feel fully developed and very real, in large part because they’re allowed to be a little inconsistent, neither good nor bad but just plain human. (Even Agnes, with whom you tend to sympathize, is at one point incredibly cruel to her handicapped friend. Later, when Agnes apologizes, her spurned friend is straight-out mean in return.) Fucking Åmål is the rare teen film that skips the standard stereotypes and the smart-alecky one-liners without sacrificing any of the humor. It’s funny; it’s honest; it’s as sweet and as aching as your first crush. —reviewed by Y. Sun   

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