The historical past of girls directing teen intercourse comedies is longer and extra sturdy than one would possibly initially suppose. There’s Amy Heckerling’s foundational “Fast Times At Ridgemont High,” in fact. However, the ‘70s and ‘80s also produced more obscure works like “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” writer/director Linda Feferman’s candy, barely odd semi-autobiographical comedy. And in more modern years, Scandinavia has produced some gently progressive, pointedly non-judgemental movies in regards to the intercourse lives of adolescent women, epitomized by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen’s delightfully titled “Turn Me On, Goddammit!” (2011). The brand new movie “Girl Picture,” by Finnish director Alli Haapasalo, continues this custom.
However whereas “Girl Picture” isn’t essentially breaking any new floor, this sensitively rendered dramedy invitations, viewers, into the world of three younger Finnish girls on the cusp of maturity with an affection and mellow humorousness that makes it a greater than agreeable cinematic companion. Though the story hits lots of your typical teen-sex-comedy beats—past love, raging hormones, awkward sexual encounters at events—don’t count on any raucous gross-out scenes on this one. Haapasalo’s method to the fabric is low-key and naturalistic—which, together with the susceptible, wonderful performances, makes these women’s tales really feel very actual.
The story begins with social outcast BFFs Mimmi (Aamu Milonoff) and Rönkkö (Eleonoora Kauhanen), who’re speaking about intercourse at their job at a smoothie retailer within the mall—once more, shades of “Fast Times”—when a preferred man comes as much as the money register and asks them in the event that they’d like to return to a celebration. Now, viewers raised on ‘80s American teen comedies may be conditioned to expect that some sort of cruel public humiliation awaits certified losers Mimmi and Rönkkö if they’re dumb sufficient to indicate up. However, it doesn’t.
As a substitute, introverted Mimmi goes searching for a protected place to cover whereas her buddy places her foot in her mouth trying to speak up to boys. She geese right into a tiled room with a small pool; there, she runs into Emma (Linnea Leino), a woman across the identical age who Mimmi rudely dismissed when she got here by the smoothie stand earlier in the day. The duo will get to speak, and Mimmi finds out that Emma is a pushed and disciplined aggressive determined skater whose life revolves around 5 a.m. practices and strict dietary regimens. Seeing a possibility to make up for her callous conduct earlier in the day, Mimmi talks Emma into going out dancing. By the tip of the nighttime, they’re desperately in love with one another.
Mimmi and Emma’s passionate romance, with all of the sports activities drama, and messy feelings that include it, make up nearly all of “Girl Picture’s” working time. The remaining is devoted to a subplot in the place Rönkkö, who could also be some taste of asexual, throws herself right into a collection of informal sexual encounters in hopes that she would possibly be taught to take pleasure in having intercourse with different individuals. As with the celebration scenes, cultural (or at the least cinematic) variations between America and Finland are highlighted in Rönkkö’s adventures; the movie by no means questions whether or not it’s okay—to not point out protected—for her to be doing all of this, which feels very overseas (in a great way!) coming from an American standpoint.
Among the cultural nuances of “Girl Picture” doesn’t translate as readily: A revelation late within the movie that Rönkkö’s mother and father have primarily stopped speaking to her as a result of their ashamed of her psychological sickness has a Scandinavian chilliness to it that could be onerous for outsiders to know. The movie lets this unfold naturally because it does with every part; the method is much preferable to characters turning in direction of the digital camera and explaining how Finns take care of tough household dynamics (by ignoring them, apparently), however, it’s puzzling in the same approach to the latest on-line dust-up over Swedes not providing their friends refreshments.
That’s not likely “Girl Picture’s” drawback, nevertheless. The film is right here to assist viewers to get to know and love these characters, not present a cultural lesson. That is the place Haapasalo’s gentle contact actually pays off: She facilities the movie’s younger actors and their performances all through the movie, sometimes pausing for lengthy, unbroken close-ups that concentrate on the ladies’ faces as they silently trip a rollercoaster of teenage feelings. The stress confronted by younger athletes like Emma is rendered particularly vividly, as is the disgrace that leads Mimmi to sabotage each good factor that comes into her life. Rönkkö’s internal world is shallower by comparability, however, she will get a lot of the movie’s (light, realizing) laughs, so it comes out even ultimately.
Movies like “Girl Picture” that take the internal world of adolescents severely are nonetheless sadly uncommon. Certain, there are foolish, gross, humiliating issues about that point in your life the place you’re technically a grownup—the characters in “Girl Picture” are around 18 years previous, ingesting age in Finland—however, you continue to suppose and act like a baby. However, there are delicate, unhappy, transcendent experiences available at that age as properly. Its embrace of the beautiful, painful, complicated breadth of feelings that make up human expertise is what makes “Girl Picture” so worthwhile.