It is about time that Swedish director Lukas Moodysson’s (Together, Lilja 4-ever) 1998 feature début (originally titled Fucking Åmål) gets an Australian DVD release. With so much average independent American cinema claiming to explore the secret lives of modern teenagers, Show Me Love refreshingly avoids the usual pitfalls of being sensationalist (Larry Clarke’s films), highly contrived (Thirteen) or romanticising angst (Thumbsucker).
Show Me Love is an authentic and touching film about popular girl Elin, who yearns for freedom from her boring existence, and Agnes, a shy and sad girl who secretly loves Elin. The frank portrayal of everyday aspects of teenage life, such as the girls’ frustrations, rejections and victimisation, often make for painful viewing. However, the joy that infuses key moments in the film makes it extremely rewarding.
Although the grainy digital camera work is initially distracting, it ultimately gives the audience a fly-on-the-wall status as we witness the inner lives of these two girls who walk the line between youthful naivety and having an adult awareness of the world. The skill in which Show Me Love effortlessly navigates issues such as homosexuality, peer pressure, alienation and young love makes it one of the great films of the last decade.
Originally appeared in The Big Issue, No. 243, 2005