Happy together. The "family" enjoy an impromptu football match in the snow...
dir-scr Lukas Moodysson
with Lisa Lindgren, Gustaf Hammarsten, Sam Kessel, Emma Samuelsson, Michael Nyqvist, Anja Lundqvist, Jessica Liedberg, Ola Norrell, Shanti Roney, Henrik Lundstrom, Olle Sarri, Sten Ljunggren
00/Sweden 4 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
The gifted Moodysson (Show Me Love) comes up with another achingly honest examination of human relationships, this time with a story set in a mid-70s free-love commune. But it's much more clever than it sounds, with sharp dialog and fascinating characters.

After being beaten by her husband (Nyqvist), Elisabeth (Lindgren) packs up her teenage kids (Kessel and Samuelsson) and runs off to stay with her brother Goran (Hammarsten). But Goran lives with his girlfriend Lena (Lundqvist) in Tilsammans, a communal house in Stockholm where no meat is allowed, open relationships are encouraged and political discussions buzz the air. But deep down everyone knows all is not right in "paradise" ... and it only takes a few outsiders to set changes in motion.

With his refreshingly honest style, Moodysson cuts through cinematic artifice and shows us real people who are funny, stupid, romantic and, most of all, in denial. Usually all at the same time. Besides the very involving human drama at the film's heart, Moodysson and his very natural ensemble cast also touch on much bigger issues involving politics, rebellion and unity. It's incredibly telling and eye-opening as it peels back layers of jealousies, changing liaisons and figuring out what's really true. Some of it is a bit obvious, and the ending seems slightly anticlimactic. But there's so much good stuff here that it's a film well worth seeking out.

[15--strong themes and situations, language, nudity] 30.Oct.00 lff
US release 22.Jun.01; UK release 13.Jul.01

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall