(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 25
2.5 out of 5 🐙
This is a 2013 adaptation of a cult Swedish graphic novel that is set in the 1980s. Confused? It’s not so bad. It’s basically a coming of age dramady about three unpopular tween girls who love punk even though most of their contemporaries say punk is dead. What starts as a way to annoy the local bullies transforms into a sincere desire to start a punk rock band. They reach out to another unpopular tween and soon the three of them are making slow, awkward, haphazard progress towards some semblance of a functional band.
41 minutes in and I was checking how much time had passed. That is a bad sign. Look, I love deliberate paced movies. I watch movies from the 40s, 50s. 60s, and 70s, all decades that did not rush their stories. But this feels like an extended and muted version of a CW show. Except at least in CW shows, they at least try to inject some moments of joy or drama. The few joyous moments here were so dull and subtle that you have to be glued to the screen to notice them.
The problem with this film is that it is too realistic. As opposed to the joyous and supremely entertaining School of Rock, these kids aren’t prodigies. They aren’t amazing singers. They aren’t instrumental savants. They are terrible and we are forced to watch their slow progress. Not to mention, the two main characters vacillate between slightly charming to outright unbearable. It’s hard to be interested in their journey.
At the 90 minute mark, we get to see the grand dramatic climax when Bobo tells Klara that she has stolen her “boyfriend” and tells at Klara for always stealing everything from her and being bossy. They of course fight and they of course reconcile. It’s a dramatic scene. But it’s too little, too late.
The one almost joyous moment is when they finally play their punk song at a small school concert and enrage the conservative audience Despite being screamed at, the girls play on defiantly and nothing could be more punk. I’ll tip my hat to that stand but the rest of the movie deserves barely a nod.
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)