Together (Tilsammans)

Lukas Moodysson, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, 2000, 106 minutes

Göran (Gustav Hammarsten) is having a hard time. His sister, Elizabeth (Lisa Lindgren), and her children are on the run from her alcoholic husband, his girlfriend has decided that free love means sleeping with everyone but him, and he is beginning to suspect that life in the "Together” commune resembles nothing more closely than grey, lumpy porridge.

Together follows the breakdown of an idealistic community that is torn apart by the social and philosophical changes of the 1970’s. Viewed from a darkly comic angle, we are shown the ridiculous realities and pointlessly pretentious arguments that manifest themselves between the housemates, from the affirmation that Pippi Longstocking books are capitalist propaganda to naming a child after a military offensive. The main upheaval occurs when Elizabeth, tired of abuse from her husband, drags her protesting children to Göran’s home. The story is told in tandem, from the adult perspective and from the viewpoints of the innocent children, ignorant of the noble aims of the community, just enormously embarrassed of their adoptive family and longing for the evils of television, meat and new clothes.

At the outset the film is shot in a very claustrophobic manner, which widens as the mood lightens, becoming brighter, with a hand-held feel at times, that genuinely complements the unfolding story. The actors, especially the children, are excellent, making the household seem perfectly plausible whilst airing the stereotypes of the era nicely.

Lukas Moodysson – whose last feature, Fucking Åmål was a refreshingly different tale of schoolgirl lesbians – has once more created a film that is at once enlightening and entertaining, and one that, quite atypically for a Scandinavian film, ends on a wonderfully positive note.

Review by George Williamson
Written for EUFS Programme Autumn 2002