Writers: Ilona Ahti and Daniela Hakulinen
Director: Alli Haapasalo
Coming of age drama Girls Girls Girls is unusual in taking a non-judgemental attitude towards the teenage subjects and telling the tale from their perspective – adults barely feature.
The script, by Ilona Ahti and Daniela Hakulinen, follows a trio of Finnish teens over a series of Friday nights. Mimmi (Aamu Milonoff) and Rönkkö (Eleonoora Kauhanen) are unlikely best friends. Although they work part-time in a juice bar there is a sense money is not an issue for any of the characters who are, therefore, free to concentrate on more interesting concerns.
Mimmi, although intelligent, is something of a know-all, her response to being caught fouling another player during school sports is not to apologise but to justify the attack with an intellectual analysis. While Mimmi is gay Rönkkö is straight but lacks passion to the extent she fears she may be asexual. She romantically feels sex should be so powerful as to absorb the other person which makes Mimmi drily remark her expectations are too high.
Emma (Linnea Leino) aspires to skate in the European Championships but has somehow lost her rhythm and become unable to complete a complex move. Things do not improve when she falls in love with Mimmi and begins to neglect her strict training regime for the first time in her life.
Director Alli Haapasalo takes an understated naturalistic approach avoiding both the crude humour and the overly glossy tone often associated with teenage drama. The cast have realistic facial blemishes which would not be seen in Hollywood movies. The eroticism in the scene where Emma demonstrates her skating prowess in a car park is palpable but discrete.
Aamu Milonoff works contrary to the defensive, self-destructive nature of Mimmi. The character may try to keep other people at arms’ length, but Milonoff’s face is constantly eager and hungry. Having to face the consequences of her relationship with Emma, Mimmi behaves in the only way she knows- moving to destruction. It is a slight disappointment when Mimmi’s motivation is explained as being something so basic as acting out to try and attract attention from an indifferent parent.
Linnea Leino, as Emma, spends the movie in constant flustered motion trying to make sense of feelings she has never before allowed herself to experience.
Eleonoora Kauhanen is the closest the film has to a comic character. Prone to nervously babbling out inappropriate information about the uses made of mugs featuring the Moomin characters or suffering misadventures such as being sick at the worse possible moment. Kauhanen creates a charming character, and, while the situations may be comedic, the authors take seriously her concern about her possible asexuality. She is very much the outsider in the trio watching her love-struck friends with bemusement.
The mature approach to the characters combined with a surprisingly light tone makes Girls Girls Girls a refreshing change from the norm and a completely engaging movie.
GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS will be released in cinemas on 30 September.