Twist and Shout | Chicago Reader

Twist and Shout

The title is misleading (the original Danish translates as “Faith, Hope, and Love”) since the Beatlemania twisting and shouting departs after the first 20 minutes and what we're left with is a chaotically scattered soaper about a group of Danish teens grappling with the mysteries of love, sex, and incipient adulthood in the early 1960s. Why director Bille August decided to turn this generically accessible material into a nostalgia exercise is a bit of a mystery too, unless it's to indulge some anachronistic attitudes toward characters and situations that would look out of place in an 80s context (we're supposed to be shocked when one boy's father turns out to be an adulterer, but the same boy's attachment to his mother, locked in her room like some Tennessee Williams gargoyle, hardly raises an oedipal eyebrow). There are abortions to be had and moral lessons to be learned (usually by males at females' expense: one girl seems especially cruelly treated, but she's rich so her feelings aren't supposed to matter) and it's all rather inconsequential; still, there are engagingly open performances, some emotionally affecting moments, and an expressive Scandinavian bleakness that insinuates itself throughout. With Lars Simonsen, Adam Tonsberg, Camilla Soeberg, and Ulrikke Juul Bondo.

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