Together (review)

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The year is 1975, but the 60s haven’t ended yet. The Stockholm collective that calls itself “Tillsammans” (Swedish for “together”) is managing quite nicely, thank you, without television or meat, without requiring underwear in the kitchen, and without any of that romantic possessiveness inherent in exclusive relationships. But then into this little counterculture comes suburban housewife Elisabeth (Lisa Lindgren) and her young kids, 13-year-old Eva (Emma Samuelsson) and 10-ish Stefan (Sam Kessel) — she’s left her abusive husband, Rolf (Michael Nyqvist), and has nowhere to go but to the commune her brother, Göran (Gustav Hammarsten), leads. Can the collective survive this injection of bourgeois attitudes? I’d bet good money that this ironic, bittersweet drama is based on the childhood memories of writer/director Lukas Moodysson, who, according to the IMDB, was born in 1969 — the perceptive eye with which Stefan (and Eva) pierce the follies of their elders is too spot-on not to be inspired by life. Stefan and his sister — and the two kids already living in the commune — go mostly ignored by their self-involved parents, but that has hardened them into wise, shrewd politicians who can turn their parents’ selfishness back on them. For all the “openness” of life at Tillsammans, this is a lonely, lonely bunch of people, kids and adults alike, and making any kind of connection to another person — or rebuilding a broken one — is really all everyone is looking for.

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