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3.9 out of 5 stars22
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Gabriel (Atli Oskar Fjalarsson)is slowly realising that he might be gay, he likes his female friends but has no compulsion to do any more than just `hang' with them. So on a summer English school to `sunny' Manchester he rooms up with outgoing and would be hairdresser, Markus (Haralder Ari Stefansson) and after a drunken party they share a kiss. It seems to mean more to Gabriel than Markus and on returning to Iceland his over bearing mother knows something has changed him. So like any caring but annoying mum she calls a family meeting. This involves a painful meeting with both real dad and step dad all trying to be overly PC whilst being border line stalkers.

We also have his best mate, hard drinking and womanising Teddi, who is the exact opposite of the caring thoughtful Gabriel. There are also the tales of his other friends especially Stella and Greta who all have familial and emotional issues which they invariably share with Gabriel in a trouble shared is a troubled halved kind of way. What actually happens is it becomes a trouble shared is a trouble doubled way instead. One has an alcoholic loose moraled mother who won't tell her who her father is. The other is living with an over protective grandmother who doesn't want her to turn out like her mother. They spend their time planning for an uncertain future and having parties where copious amounts of alcohol are consumed as a prelude to non committal sex, except for Teddi (but not always).

There have been comparisons with `Skins' which is unfortunate as this most certainly is not. What director Baldvin Zophoniasson has created is a multi layered tale of kids becoming adults and not really knowing what they are doing. This is a state we have all been through at that particular time in life. The gay strand is one of many issues that is dealt with along with identity, belonging and independence. And I must say there is a lot packed into this 93 minutes, so much so that I have seen it twice and it lost little of its impact on a second viewing.

It is slow in places and it can be said to be overly complicated in terms of breadth, but found it utterly absorbing and both well acted and filmed. I admire most world cinema and think that efforts like this should be applauded. There is little in the way of bedroom scenes as this is more about relationships and I do not think it suffers for it. A well made and presented film that deserves a lot more attention than it has currently received - highly recommended to fans of world cinema but not fans of teen soft porn if that is your bag.
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on 8 August 2012
The Icelandic title of this film, Órói, actually translates as Turmoil, defined as "a state or condition of extreme confusion, agitation, or commotion." And that is a much better description of the contents of this film. We meet our teenage hero, Gabriél, a straight shooter, as he participates in an ESL program in England, where he meets Markús, another Icelander, who has his brother's ID and introduces Gabriél to drink, and it becomes clear, that the boys find comfort in each other, and perhaps some deeper feelings. Back in Iceland Gabriél returns to his family with little to say about his trip, to the consternation of his mother. Meanwhile his gal pal is having boyfriend problems. All the kids party hardily with little adult supervision. After a robbery at the convenience store where she works, in which she is roughed up, she is befriended by co-worker, a Russian boy, Mitrovik, who is seen as an outsider even though he has lived in Iceland a long time. Her mother refuses to act like one, so her meddling grandmother, who sees it as her job to protect the girl's purity, ruins her life by stalking her.

***Spoiler Alert***

After we watch all this commotion, Markús reappears at another party and is quite cold towards Gabríel. He disappears with a girl, and when Gabríel goes looking for him he is found buck naked in the middle of sex with the girl. At this point Gabríel leaves in a state of "extreme confusion, agitation, or commotion." When his harassed, depressed girl friend commits suicide, the grandmother is sick with grief, but is embraced (and redeemed) by Mitrovik, who returns a cross necklace stolen in the robbery. Markús apologizes to Gabríel who then admits he wants to get to know Markús better, and the final scene shows a kiss between the two through an open doorway behind his parents who miss the embrace. At no point does either Gabríel or Markús show any jitters whatsoever.

Parts of the film may mimic the BBC Skins, in terms of the hard drinking, or The Secret Life of the American Teenager, in terms of the soap-opera nature of things, as suggested in the description, but Jitters is well acted by an age-appropriate cast. It is totally original if not totally believable. For that reason I recommend it.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 27 February 2013
Jitters is an appealing film which I came to expecting it to focus more on gayness, but which is thoroughly enjoyable, even though I was glad to see the gay strand of the story make a reappearance before the end. In fact it suggests how that theme doesn't need to be highlighted in a country that has an openly lesbian prime minister; it is not really as big a deal as it is in Britain, you feel, and the main character's friend, who is quite a ladykiller, simply asks him on the mobile whether he is gay with some surprise, but no sense that their friendship will change as a result. Nevertheless there is still some reluctance to say it, particularly to his parents, which leads you to wonder whether this isn't almost inevitable where anything to do with making any explicit kind of statement about sex is concerned. Both this and the other three or four plot strands are very well interwoven, and the frequent party scenes are not boring to watch as they sometimes can be, maybe because of the music ... The film also gains from its Icelandic location, having started just outside Manchester. I would have welcomed more of a sense of place, but in a subtle way you can sense it, and we don't see that many Icelandic films. The young people seem to be in their last year at school and are engaging without trying to be; the whole film flows very well and does manage to achieve a depth in places that is perhaps surprising, taking it outside the genre as defined by American teenage films, and managing to give greater resonance to its themes than a soap opera would. It is also shot in widescreen, with a more poetic sense and better camerawork than a TV drama, although this too is worn lightly.
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on 18 June 2012
This is world cinema at its best so I wouldnt marginalise this film and call it a gay film or a teenage film. Its a sensitive story [ not just about drink and sex and trauma ] Funny at times too and actually showed the complications of being almost adult .Quality .
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I must admit I really did enjoy Jitters. It really is a heartwarming story. I notice another review has said "Nothing happens between the lads". Remember it is only a 15 is this film, if you want that kind of stuff pick a 18 film.

For me, I really did enjoy it & very happy that the two lads got together at the end of the firm :)
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on 31 July 2013
Good soundtrack, interesting storyline, likeable main character. Be prepared to put up with the foreign subtitles and learn the character's names early on or it can get very confusing.
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on 2 August 2013
A great film that teens could empathise with when contemplating coming out. It has more of an emotional focus to the film.
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on 19 July 2015
A great film about teenage experiences. While the focus is on Gabriel and coming to terms with his sexuality, it is by no means a film solely about sexuality. Instead the films exploration of the experiences and emotions of its characters goes beyond this. I would not count this as a gay film but more of a teenage drama akin to Skins or Degrassi. It is worth the watch.
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on 16 September 2012
Fully enjoyable, acting pretty good, typically gay storyline, but enjoyable watching.

Good enough acting, and easy to follow!

Story you can watch a few times.
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on 14 April 2012
A warning, there is at least one big spoiler in what follows.

I get nervous each time I see a teen-drama compared favourably with 'Skins' as the experience almost always turns out to be a disappointment. This one is no exception, despite having characters and plotlines that are familiar (maybe too familiar). In addition to the mention in the Amazon blurb there's a review quote on the DVD sleeve saying that 'Jitters is everything Skins wishes it could be...'. No, it isn't. The incisive dialogue, wit, complex characterisation and sometimes shocking clash of tightly interwoven dark and light themes that have distinguished Skins at its best are almost completely missing here, leaving Jitters as a strangely flat, predictable and generally rather glum affair.

The central character of Gabriel is a quiet, sensitive boy engaged in supporting his somewhat interchangeable closest female friends and irredeemably stupid, boorish best (male) friend in their troubles. At the same time he's privately trying to make sense of the feelings he has for the fellow Icelandic boy he kissed while on a summer school trip to England.

Cute as a button Atli Oskar Fjalarsson is absolutely fine in the part of Gabriel but hampered by a scattergun script, poor structure and unfocussed direction. His love-interest Markus disappears for a long time while the director introduces the peripheral storylines - so a substantial portion of the initial, tentative development of their relationship winds up being conducted by text, leaving Markus as something of a cypher. When Markus finally reappears he almost immediately does something arbitrarily cruel that hurts and alienates Gabriel and which seems at odds with the character we've encountered thus far. Cue sadness and more texting, and time out to progress the other story strands. Eventually the boys begin to reconcile their feelings, though this is dealt with in a comparative rush. Along the way potentially telling interactions between Gabriel and his family end up being stilted and unresolved, partly due to wooden performances from some of the adult actors and partly to vague direction. The closing scene of the film is a case in point, with Gabriel's sympathetic stepfather and domineering, nosey mother completely ignoring what's going on behind them, when glancing round would answer all the questions they've had about Gabriel's secretive behaviour throughout the film - their utter lack of curiosity about his unexpected meal-interrupting visitor is laughable in the circumstances.

In summary, there's nothing really fresh or particularly well-done in Jitters. At least one too many storylines causes muddle and robs the main story of valuable development time. That's a pity, although on second viewing Fjalarsson's appealing performance lifts the production from 2 to 3 stars.
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