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    So hippie together

    The Swedish film "Together" explores the best and worst of the hippie era, as a commune of free thinkers explores love, sex, childhood and the music of Abba.


    Sweden, 1975. If you were a hippie (and maybe even if you weren't), it was a time of free love, Marxist-Leninist theorizing, vegetarianism, open marriages, radical philosophizing, and driving around in beat-up Volkswagen vans with brightly painted flowers on them.

    Original title: Tillsammans.
    Written and directed by: Lukas Moodysson.
    Cast: Lisa Lindgrenm Michael Nyqvist, Emma Samuelsson, Sam Kessel, Gustav Hammarsten, Anja Lundkvist, Jessica Liedberg, Ola Norell, Axel Zuber, Shanti Roney, Olle Sarri, Cecilia Frode, Lars Frode, Emil Moodysson, Henrik Lundstrom, Therese Brunnander, Claes Hartelius, Sten Ljunggren.
    In Swedish with English subtitles.

    Related links: Official site | All of David N. Butterworth's reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
    Abba was on the radio for the first time — they'd just won the Eurovision Song Contest — and people were starting to come out of the closet. Clothing was odd — tie-dyes and furs — and haircuts were even odder. Change was in the air. In Lukas Moodysson's "Together" ("Tillsammans"), the Swedish writer/director examines that change through the construct of a mid-'70s commune populated by a cross-pollination of people simply trying to get along.

    We have an abused wife, Elisabeth (Lisa Lindgren), who has fled her alcoholic husband (Michael Nyqvist) in the hope of starting life afresh, her two children in tow. We have the mild-mannered leader of the commune and his wife who profess to have an open marriage, yet it's obvious that Lena (Anja Lundqvist) enjoys her sexual freedom way more than Goran (Gustav Hammarsten). There's another couple, Anna and Lasse (Jessica Liedberg and Ola Norell), recently separated. She believes herself to be a lesbian and likes to air her views from the waist down; he's confused and angry and quickly propositioned by one of the commune's few single male members.

    Elisabeth's children, Eva and Stefan, are thrown into this socialist melting pot against their will and try to keep their heads above water. (If it's confusing for the grown-ups, what chance do the kids have?) Eva (Emma Samuelsson), perhaps, manages something from the transition, forming a genuine friendship with a pudgy boy her own age from across the street (whose parents, by the way, regularly spy on the hippies through binoculars — they've got problems of their own).

    Perhaps it's a bit much to handle the weight of such a variety of social, sexual, and political agendas gathered under one roof, but Moodysson manages to make much of it charming, eliciting warm and vulnerable performances from his homegrown cast. The handheld camerawork especially helps here, to-ing and fro-ing between protagonists with a claustrophobic edginess. Moodysson understands his characters and his writing is sharp and believable.

    As a companion piece to Todd Solondz's "Happiness," "Together" is a natural choice. In fact, you could translate the title of Moodysson's film as "Unhappiness" for all the dysfunction going on therein. But there are times when life does, indeed, become bearable, when the petty squabbles and differences of opinion are temporarily put aside for, say, a communal game of football in the snow — simple pleasures heightened by a renewed sense of togetherness.

    Only then do we see that the inhabitants of Moodysson's film aren't really all that different from one another after all. Or, I suspect, from you or I.

    SEPTEMBER 20, 2001

    Reader comments on Together:

  • about Together   from Gabby, Dec 8, 2001
  • Re: about Together   from dorothea, May 3, 2002
  • Fantastic!   from Mikael, Apr 2, 2002
  • togethr   from sarah hall, May 1, 2002
  • This Swedish film draws out the emotions   from Steven Berglund, Jul 16, 2002
  • I need this on DVD!!   from lilly, Apr 12, 2003
  • Re: I need this on DVD!!   from Maarten, May 16, 2003
  • Re: I need this on DVD!!   from Heather, Aug 28, 2003
  • Re: I need this on DVD!!   from Jess, Sep 2, 2003
  • Re: I need this on DVD!!   from Lou Buckenham, Sep 3, 2003
  • Re: I need this on DVD!!   from Liz, Aug 23, 2005
  • together   from Nico, Jun 14, 2005
  • great film   from Claire, Oct 3, 2005
  • Togerther   from scottlord, May 6, 2006
  • Great film   from Ivona Poyntz, Aug 10, 2012
  • Gustaf   from Ginger, Aug 10, 2012

  • Post a comment on "Together"