“We Are the Best!” is a movie set in the early 1980’s when traditional Swedish punk like KSMB started to decline in popularity. It centers around a trio of young girls making themselves seen through block-headed determination to have their uniqueness shine into the world around them.
Swedish punk music truly came alive in the 1970’s with bands like KSMB and Ebba Grön, and in the 1980’s hardcore punk became more mainstream in bands like Mob 47 and Anti Cimex (info from Discogs).
When I watched this movie, I had little knowledge of Swedish punk history. I hadn’t really listened to many old school punk bands not from the US or UK. While the movie doesn’t dive too much into niche punk bands and sounds, it supplies viewers with delightful, raw punk spirit through the three main characters, Bobo, Klara and Hedvig.
The film is based on the director’s wife’s (Coco Moodysson) graphic novel, “Never Goodnight”. I haven’t read it myself but the art style encapsulates the DIY nature of punk energy and the movie’s story does so too (this article has a few snippets from the book).
“We Are the Best!” was released in 2013. Director Lukas Moodysson, with the guidance of his partner Coco Moodysson, also created the screenplay for this film. If you want to watch this film, you can find it for free on YouTube with ads.
I am going to get into some spoilers for this film, so if you don’t want to read them, stop reading here.
Two besties, Klara and Bobo, are thirteen years old and tired of taking s**t for being young, girls, punk and different from everyone else. We see them compared to their stereotyped blond teen classmates and older boys and adults who constantly patronize them.
On an absolute whim stemming from justified anger, Klara and Bobo start making music and writing songs. The two do everything together. They’re completely reliant on each other, but still have their tensions sparking fights throughout the film. Eventually, at a school talent show, they meet Hedvig, an outwardly appearing Christian conservative with real talent for music.
Bobo and Klara recruit Hedvig to join their band and the three of them continuously get into trouble while opening Hedvig’s eyes to the world beyond Christianity.
After meeting up with other local punks and a few internal dramatic moments, Bobo, Klara and Hedvig have their first gig by the end of the film. They get raucous boo’s for being girls, but absolutely eat up the negative energy as fuel for their righteous performance on stage. The movie ends with the three of them being the best of friends and living up to their fullest punk potentials.
Why’s It So Good?
“We Are the Best!” does a phenomenal job at capturing and harnessing true punk spirit, realistic characters, history and tension. I love all the interactions between every side character, little gimmicks of getting free food, begging for money, just everything Bobo, Hedvig and Klara did together seemed whimsical and true to the nature of young teens trying to be themselves in a structured conforming society.
The music was also amazing. The characters had great dialogue about the music of the times (which I think is accurate, not really sure because my music history knowledge is poor). Scenes with classic Swedish-punk tunes like “Schweden Schweden” by Ebba Grön and “Sex Noll Två” tied the dialogue and history together with the raw emotion you get from punk tracks. You can check out the whole soundtrack list on IMDb.
The pacing of the film was also well done. Characters and events flowed smoothly from one triumph or failure to the next without losing my interest. Also, there were tons of hilarious and awkward interactions between children and adults that still occur today. I love it when a movie transcends time periods to show how actions between each other are still the same.
I loved “We Are the Best!”. Lukas and Coco Moodysson created a wonderful homage to that awkward punk spirit I wish I had when I was younger, and they’ve made a piece of art that shows us why rebellious kids and adults will never die out as a fad ever again. People will continue to be marginalized for something they can’t control, so the only option to counter that is to be loud, stand tall, and join with your friends to fight for individuality.
I definitely recommend taking some time to watch this film with homies, besties, buds, friends, companions, really anyone that you’re close to because it will make you all smile without fail.