We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Swedish writer-director Lukas Moodysson’s second feature is on a larger scale than his first, Show Me Love, an intimate, unforced tale of romance between two high school girls. In many ways, however, Together is less sophisticated than its predecessor. Tracking the inhabitants of a Stockholm commune in 1975, this amiable youth-culture sex comedy observes a dozen people who make or break emotional ties. The central character is easygoing Göran (Gustaf Hammarsten), who abides but doesn’t appreciate the free-love code of his girlfriend, Lena (Anja Lundqvist). Housemates Lasse (Ola Norell) and Anna (Jessica Liedberg) have recently divorced because of the latter’s politically based decision to become a lesbian but decided to stay at Tillsammans (“together”) for the sake of their young son, Tet (Axel Zuber). Other inhabitants include Erik (Olle Sarri), who is willing to have sex with Lena as long as she’ll stay for a post-coital chat about Marxism, and Klas (Shanti Roney), a gay man who has thus far been omitted from the house’s partner-swapping. Life at the commune is further disrupted when Göran’s sister Elisabeth (Lisa Lindgren) arrives, fleeing her abusive alcoholic husband, Rolf (Michael Nyqvist). She brings her two children, Eva (Emma Samuelsson) and Stefan (Sam Kessel), who will soon lead a counterrevolution against the commune’s principles: They want to watch TV and eat meat. Indeed, some of the film’s strongest scenes involve the kids. Eva befriends Fredrik (Henrik Lundström), an outcast who lives next door, and she and Stefan go to dinner with their father, who means to put things right but gets everything wrong. Perhaps because his sympathies are principally with the children, Moodysson settles for sitcom-ish resolutions to the adults’ problems, notably in the outcome of Göran and Lena’s relationship. And whereas Show Me Love invoked Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” ironically, Together plays (and replays) in all earnestness its deliverance theme song: ABBA’s “S.O.S.” —Mark Jenkins