View other movie reviews

Together

(Tillsammans)

 

Free love and other ideals existed after the 1960s. For the most part, they still exist in the mid-70s, in a commune called Together. Together is the new film from Lukas Moodysson, who made a splash across the world with the film Show Me Love. Show Me Love was notable for its characterizations and intense look at love from a teenage perspective. Together is a somewhat different film. This time, Moodyssoon's approach is a little less personal. He mixes drama with absurd comedy, and his main point is to show that people are not exactly what they seem. There are a huge number of 'major' roles in Together, and to his credit, Moodysson (Bara Prata Lite) deftly personalizes each person, giving them depth and character.

The drawback is that there are a large number of characters, and it is sometimes hard to get into the movie, especially at first. The viewer must feel like Elisabeth (Lisa Lindgren), a new divorcee who moves into the commune to be with her brother Goran (Gustav Hammarsten, The Best Intentions). Elisabeth is a perfectly normal woman, looking to start over with her children Eva (Emma Samuelsson) and Stefan (Sam Kessel). The people who live in the commune are, well, different. Their way of living seems normal to them, but the appearance of Elisabeth and her children throws everybody into a state of turmoil. It doesn't help that tensions were already brewing. Goran and his girlfriend Lena (Anja Lundkvist) believe in free love, and that they should not have to worry about staying true to each other. Goran still does, and much to his dismay, Lena practices what she preaches (very loudly) with Erik (Olle Sarri, Monopoly), an ardent Socialist who would much rather talk.

Anna (Jessica Liedberg, Happy Days) is also a recent divorcee, and a lesbian. Because of their similar circumstances, Elisabeth and Anna become friends. Anna doesn't want to obey cultural conventions like, say, shaving armpits or wearing pants. Klas (Shanti Roney, Fodelsagen) is a gay man who is thinking of pursing Anna's ex-husband Lasse (Ola Norrell). But wait, there are still more people! Including Tet (Axel Zuber), named after the Tet Offensive. Tet and Stefan become friends. Meanwhile, Eva befriends Fredrik (Henrik Lundstrom), a neighbor. Moodysson then takes the time to circle back to Elisabeth's ex-husband Rolf (Michael Nyqvist, Breaking Out), and his increasing depression at the loss of his family.

These people who live in the commune are more normal than they would like to think. It's as if all their beliefs are a crutch they hold onto, not wanting to admit who they really may be. Elisabeth's appearance changes all of this. Her children want to watch television and to eat meat, but that is forbidden. Goran does what he can to make Elisabeth, Eva, and Stefan happy, but this only incenses the other commune members. Tet cannot play games with guns, but can play torture games based on Chilean dictator Pinochet. Goran really dislikes the fact that his girlfriend is basically cheating on him. Eva thinks that everybody is insane, and retreats to the bus to listen to music. Fredrick is fascinated with the commune, unlike his parents, who are probably on the polar end of the spectrum. They forbid him from going there, which does nothing but increase his curiosity. The most disappointing aspect of Together is that it's obvious that everything will come to a head, and Moodyssoon's resolution feels a little too neat. He does spend a lot of time on each character, never making fun of anybody, and showing the good and bad side of each person. Together is his way of showing that the family unit does not necessarily mean the traditional one. Not everyone may be a saint, and people may argue, but if everybody truly loves one another, then they are a family.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 46 minute, Rated R for nudity/sexuality and language.

Back to Movies