The members of a ’70s Stockholm commune reunite decades later to renew old romances and reveal their lives are as messy as ever, in Lukas Moodysson’s razor-sharp comedy.
Acerbic and warm-hearted in equal measure, Lukas Moodysson invites viewers back to the fictional Stockholm commune he introduced in Together (’00), a film that helped establish the director’s keen take on human frailty.
It is now 1999, 24 years since the events in the film’s predecessor, and the passage of time has not been kind to the community. In fact, the membership has dwindled down to two: Göran (Gustaf Hammarsten), the de facto leader, and the sensitive Klasse (Shanti Roney). Clinging to the ways of their 1970s selves, the pair seem poorly equipped for the world on the eve of Y2K. Then again, as their former housemates arrive to celebrate Göran’s 60th birthday, it becomes clear that even those who left the commune long ago are just as flummoxed by the changes that surround them. Over the course of the evening, connections and conflicts are renewed along with many of the romantic sparks that made commune life so complicated.
The apparent spontaneity of Together 99’s most bustling scenes belie the painstaking care in Moodysson’s writing and direction, Ellinor Hallin’s deft cinematography and the cast’s note-perfect performances. Including some new faces amongst the more familiar ones, the director delights in his opportunities to lampoon the toxic combination of idealism and narcissism still rife among his aging communards. Yet for all the animosity that arises from their clashes, Together 99 displays great tenderness and empathy, qualities that were hallmarks of the original film and of Moodysson’s rich studies in adolescent rebellion in Show Me Love and We Are The Best! (TIFF ’13).
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: coarse language; sexual content; violence