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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
A Swedish Love Story [DVD]
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on 19 August 2017
beautiful story
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on 22 June 2017
Love this film
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 17 June 2015
A touching portrayal of first love between a girl of 13 and a boy barely older, the film is at its best when focusing on the closed world of the young lovers. Whether at home dancing on the bed after a night spent in each other's arms, or riding on a scooter through beautiful sunlit landscapes, they radiate what is good about life. This is offset by portraits of their families that are much less happy - it seems to suggest an adult world of frustration and meaninglessness barely contained in social contact. It reminded me most of the French director Maurice Pialat in casting a realist eye on fairly working class backgrounds and the misery of interactions whether within marriages or more generally. The two leads do have considerable charm, and the freshness of their discovery of each other is disarming. However the last part of the film threatens to derail it, and I don't think Roy Andersson quite manages to show the parents and other adults with enough depth to justify the points he seems to be making. The implication that life starts out well but then goes off could surely have been made without stretching the young romance between scenes of a certain tedium, especially in the last half-hour.
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on 11 April 2014
what an absolutely lovely film ! The progression of the teenagers love is handled so beautifully,from merely glancing at one another,to dealing through intermediaries because of shyness and fear of rejection,to the first kiss and a growing,deepening affection.so realistic when Par is humiliated by the local bully in front of his girlfriend and he thinks things are over and she will not be interested in him again,only to be replaced and healed by a loving embrace which makes all right again.
The lead performances are superb,one minute acting like kids,the next as intense lovers.This is best seen when they have the house to themselves for a night;messing about with the tape recorder and guitar,eating rather dry looking salami on bread yet,all the time one can feel the tension rising to the inevitable conclusion when they explore each others bodies and then sleep together for the night.Do they take each others virginity? one would expect so,yet Anneka is only 13 and Par so obviously loves her that he would not want to hurt her.Perhaps they just love being close,feeling safe in each others arms.Then in the morning,there they are larking about just like kids again dancing on the bed. This lovely scene was shot in 1970,if there was a remake today,one can be sure that the sexual element would have been much more explicit,but would it have been any better? I doubt it.
As to the final portion which is dominated by the dysfunctional,bizarre and zany antics of the so called "adults".Surely,the lovers safely and quietly snuggled down in some secure out house act as a contrast to the ructions going on outside.As john rants about his daughter being "rich,rich ,rich",there she is,really forgotten about,but safe,secure and loved in the arms of Par.
A truly lovely story,beautifully acted.
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on 7 December 2011
Not so sure the last third was the 'weak' part of this film. Seems to me the stories (adult disillusionment / class politics) which emerge more clearly later in the movie serve only to throw 'the love story' into bolder relief. I didn't find this unbalanced. Rather, it seemed to me to level any misty-eyed sentimentality that might have crept up on you when the love of Annika and Par was theirs alone. As with real love, when it flourishes and spills over into the real world, other people become involved. Not always nice, but always true. The last third is perhaps less attractive (or perhaps less charming) for this reason, but it's no less meaningful. Anyway, a wonderful film. Great cinematography. Shot with insight and sensitivity. Great performances too. There was no weak part in this film. I really felt I'd travelled. Jim.
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on 2 December 2011
This is surely the most perfecty realised of first-love movies. Annika and Par are believably real, not stereotypes. There's much poetry and truth. For example, in the beautifully edited sequence of passionate longing looks across a crowded bar, or the famous scene when Par rides back to the heartbroken Annika on his motorbike. Even the little touches, such as Annika making food sandwiches for Par, or their dancing on the bed after their first night together, are just right. What you get, on top, is the director's awesome respect for ordinary people: usually it's just just the middle-class that's allowed to be quirky. Few directors portray the working class with such understanding. Definitely perfect.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 November 2010
One of the most realistic portraits of teen-age love I've ever seen.
Sensual, sad, and funny. Two terrific lead performances. Very different
from Andersson's later, much more surreal films. This is grounded in an
amazingly universal reality.

The only weak spot is how the secondary stories of the grown ups around
them take over the last third of the film. These are interesting and
entertaining characters, but it's a bit like 'Romeo and Juliet'
suddenly became about Friar Tuck. Andersson is exploring
class and politics in Sweden, and the point is to set the kids'
innocence against that. But I still feel it's a bit unbalanced.

But all that aside, this is a film I love for the way it captures that
moment where love becomes something real, not just an idea,
and sensuality becomes a part of your life. It's ironic that it's called
'A Swedish Love Story', because - aside from a few cultural markers -
this could be anywhere.
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If you're old enough to have been a teenager in the early 70's when this film was made, then it's bound to be an extraordinary nostalgia trip back to an imaginary Summer of your youth. That dreamy Summer when you rode around town on your moped without a helmet, when you smoked like a chimney (without really inhaling) just 'cos it looked cool and when you wore your jeans skintight and ankle-length on purpose and not because they must have recently shrunk. More importantly, it's that Summer when you fell in love for the first time with that boy or girl you could never quite bring yourself to talk to - so you got your friend to do it for you.

A Swedish Love Story (which is just called 'A Love Story' in Sweden) manages to do what nostalgia does - to be very true and yet idealised at one and the same time. The depiction of first love is incredibly touching and funny, the performances of the teenagers are amazingly real and unmannered and the movie manages to be completely charming without resorting to schmaltz. The love story between Pär and Annika is set against a backdrop of much more troubled adult relationships around them and although these inevitably intrude into the teenagers lives, they never derail their growing bond. You can't help wondering what today's teenagers would make of it, apart from probably loving the 70's fashions, but then maybe some things never change?
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on 22 January 2012
This classic piece of cinema is a beautifully crafted work. It focuses on two teenagers in the most delightful and realistic way. The locations really put you there with them, in Sweden in 1970. My only criticism is the amount of cigarettes they smoke, it is as if it were sponsored by a major tobacco company. Great film all the same though. First class.
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on 20 July 2015
Big, bold, brave and beautiful, ‘A Swedish Love Story’ is a real slice of life that is utterly irresistible. Because it is so timelessly universal in appeal and surpasses almost all love stories in meaningful realism, its English title appears to me as far too modest, and could easily have been ‘A Universal Love Story’. The two adorable kids who head the story make me want to fall in love over and over again, to walk on air in a breathless daze and to fly over the clouds in a delirious daydream. Their pure, innocent and benign romance is as uplifting as the spring sunshine, their youthful world a passionate bliss of boundless imagination and endless possibilities. In deeply depressing disparity, the adult world around them is tainted with loneliness, guilt, frustration, cynicism and malice, a cold, callous and hopelessly miserable prison of an existence. The naïve tiffs between the lovelorn teens are sparks of joy, while the quarrels and misdemeanours amongst the mature are blights of gloom. The contrast runs through the narrative like an icy wedge, but never too perceptibly, nor spitefully, subtly stimulating us to wonder why we have to grow up: why can’t we remain ingenuous and excitedly and enthusiastically grasp the gifts of life as children do?

A leisurely curtain opens the film and a fleeting one closes it. The first is artificial just like in theatre, in clear contradiction to the reality that is about to be played behind. The closing curtain though is as real as the life itself, a beautiful view of nature, incongruously blemished by electrical pylons and cabling. The message is clear: it is a beautiful world, only if we remove the tainted goggles of adulthood to look through the very eyes we were born with!

Roy Andersson is a genius, and so is everyone else who contributed to this masterful milestone not just in cinema, but in humanities as a whole. ’A Swedish Love Story’ is as enchanting as a lovely poem or a painting, yet is as probing as a philosophical treatise, nourishment for the heart as well as for the soul.
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