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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

01.10.2002

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flick pick | Together 2000
Directed + written by: Lukas Moodysson
Starring: Lisa Lindgren, Michael Nyqvist, Emma Samuelsson, Sam Kessel, Gustav Hammarsten
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: foreign [Sweden]
Watch it when you’re in the mood for
something: nostalgic, whimsical 
The critic says: ½/ 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: /5 

Plot synopsis In 1975 Sweden, Göran lives in the Together commune along with his lover Lena, and a handful of other leftist idealists. Among these are a bank president’s son turned radical communist revolutionary, a couple who are hell-bent on protecting their child from the evils of that well-known capitalist Pippi Longstocking, a born-again militant feminist lesbian named Anna, her charmingly cynical, estranged husband Lasse, and Klas, the shy suburban-mom-coiffed man who loves Lasse. Despite all the peace, love and harmony that the Together folk espouse, there’s an awful lot of bickering that goes on at the house, as the inhabitants struggle with open relationships, jealous exes, and whether everyone’s putting in their fair share of time with that dreaded chore of washing dishes. One night, Göran gets a phone call from his sister Elisabeth, who’s in tears because her alcoholic husband has just hit her for the second time in the span of their marriage, and she’s decided to make sure it’s the last by leaving him. Göran picks up Elisabeth, in a psychedelic VW van of course, and brings his sister, along with her two children, Eva and Stefan, to live at the Together house. All of which only serve to further the troubles in the less-than-idyllic commune.

Review If Show Me Love and Together are any indication, Lukas Moodysson just might be the Cameron Crowe of Swedish cinema, possessing the amazing ability to create truly feel-good, funny movies that nonetheless, never threaten to make you ill from sugar-syrup overload. What makes Moodyson’s films just a little bit more challenging than your average Crowe crowd-pleaser is that you sort of get the sense he’s not particularly aiming to create characters that end up being as lovable as they are. With Together, especially, it’s hard to have much sympathy for these characters initially. Göran’s a doormat, so busy spouting off the niceties he thinks he’s supposed to spout as the perfect open-minded hippie, that you can’t help but feel that he has no one to blame but himself when he lets his Lena walk all over his feelings. Elisabeth brings her kids to the commune and barely notices that Stefan’s pissed-off that he’s been ripped away from his dad, or that adolescent Eva’s freaked into near-silence by the open sexual vibe in the house. And Elisabeth’s plumber husband is just a loser, who’s not so much a mean wife-beater as he is a miserable alcoholic who can’t do anything right. These are not lovable characters, cute though hapless; they’re seriously flawed, seriously real people, working hard to just plain be happy, which is what makes their eventual redemption so satisfying. In the end, it’s the diehard ideologues that remain miserable and alone, too blinded by the idealism of their extremist views and insistent upon the inferiority of all those that disagree to realize that in this world, it’s a lot easier to achieve that ideal of happiness once you accept that neither life, nor love, are ever perfect and pure. —reviewed by Y. Sun

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