The heart-warming feature transports viewers back to their teenage years with magnificent acting and a great soundtrack
One of the best films at the Manchester Film Festival is based on a Swedish book of the same name and explores the struggles of three 14-year-old teenagers in a small town. When Mia’s best friend Mirjam starts an affair with a married man, she and her other friend Karl begin to spy on them in order to come up with a plan to tear the illegal relationship apart. At the same time, the friendship between the girls is falling apart because of the difference in maturity.
The trio goes through many rites of passages to find themselves and their place in life. Family problems, the first love, and the importance of friendship are central to the film. The child actors manage to captivate the audience from the beginning—especially Anna Hägglin’s natural performance impressed the producer who auditioned over 400 children to find the right actress for this difficult role.
The film reminded me of my own teenage years and the feeling of inadequacy that comes with it. As Mia mentions at one point in the film, there are rules for everything but none for coping with all the changes that happen when one enters puberty. When she sees her family life and friendships fall apart, she reinvents herself and keeps on fighting even though she plays with the thoughts of suicide. The importance of resilience and friendship make this film a heart-warming experience with many comical moments because after all, we all have to grin when we think back of our awkward years as teenagers.