After some mis-steps with experimental and feel-bad drama, Lukas Moodysson's seventh film is a return to the kind of heartfelt, closely observed and warm-natured coming-of-age stories he told in his early films Show Me Love and Together.
Adapted from a graphic novel by his wife, Coco Moodysson, it is about three 13-year-old girls in early-Eighties Stockholm who form a punk band at their local youth club. Only one of them can play an instrument, but their songs about hating PE lessons and the confusing idiocy of the adult world have an endearing naive intensity. Then again, they're not making music for anyone else but themselves.
It's only got a mild dose of the angst that was in Show Me Love, and the politics are more peripheral than in Together, but in its own small way, it is an eloquent piece about the Swedish tension between social conformism and political liberalism, as much as the eternal generational struggle between kids and their parents. It's about how being a teenaged outsider can sometimes be lonely and painful, but can also feel righteous and good. Especially when there are three of you being outsiders together.
Best of all, it has very fresh and natural performances by its first-time actors, and bubbles over with effervescent energy and natural humour. In fact, it's an irrepressible joy from start to finish. Think School of Rock, without adult supervision.