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Let The Right One In

Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:59 pm
by dark77778
Okay, I caught this at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival last month and it was amazing. If you want a solid vampire movie that isn't Twilight*, go see this film if it's somewhere where you can see it. The movie is an amazingly heart-wrenching [only way to put it] story about a human boy and a girl** vampire who eventually and fall into friendship and then love. People define this as a Vampire Coming of Age Story, and that pretty well sums it up. The boy, Oskar, is a pale, fresh faced kid of about 11 who is picked on so much at school that he fantasizes about fighting back and killing the bullies, but can't bring himself to do it, so he lives in misery and loneliness.

Along comes a girl who never claims to be a vampire, but claims to have been her age for a very long time. It is eventually revealed that she is a vampire and her description of her age is very true. Her age really comes out as being young and old at the same time with the decisions that she has had to make, and does make throughout the course of the film. Both she and Oskar go through changes in personality and experience that grows them both to an extent that the film questions at it's very ominous ending.

If you don't like blood, stay away from this film. There's quite a bit of it. To put it on the level, the use of blood is somewhere under that of Sweeny Todd, but it's all done in the deliberate magical realism way that Pan's Labyrinth handled itself. Speaking of magical, this film is all but in one scene shot in winter, so the visuals and setting are very appropriate for a vampire film, and gives off those chills of "this is so cool".

The only thing about the film is that for a vampire film, it leans more to the Coming of Age style, so it's pretty slow, and towards the later points of the film, it also gets rather ambiguous. It is certainly a film I will go and see again [probably next week] to clear up as many of the loose ends as I can. If you're in the mood for something dark, see this film. If you're in the mood for something slightly new, see this film. If you're in the mood for a brutally beautiful vampire film, see this film. If you want nice and happy, see Bolt. If you want something in between [minus the Vampires] see Un conte de Noël/A Christmas Tale.

*: Let The Right One In has already been picked up by Matt Reeves to be remade....and as much as I love Cloverfeild, this movie doesn't need a remake to make it all Twilighty Hollywood style. It's good enough as it is I say, but I'll still end up seeing it just to compare, maybe you should too.

Spoiler? **: People are telling me about some shot of the vampire naked which questions their gender by showing mutilated genitalia. I missed that shot so I can't say anything about that, but it's another interesting spin on the movie's ambiguity.

Posted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:58 pm
by squirpy
I saw this earlier this year. I don't like vampires, but I really loved this movie. The characters were mesmerizing. It was like watching a slice of life movie about a vampire.

On the topic of the genitalia, I read an interview with the director - apparently s/he was originally a boy, but it all got cut off. That's why s/he keeps saying "I'm not a girl."
Also, apparently in the original story, her caretaker was an outright pedophile. Which adds a weird dimension. I'm glad they left it out of the movie though - I like that the focus stays on her and Oskar.
Plus, I think it opened it up so you could see the way that guy is living now as Oskar's future.

Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:27 pm
by dark77778
Interesting to see that you got that vibe about the future too squirpy. I looked at it two ways and I like to think of the ending as being more ambiguous as opposed to clear cut, though I can tell you that most of the other people I spoke to in the theater thought of the ending exactly the same way you did.

Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:06 am
by jcaffoe
I saw the film tonight and really enjoyed it. It delves deeply into themes of isolation and loneliness, with most of the relationships in the film being built through a shared sense of empathy, rather than direct contact. I thought this complemented the vampire mythology incredibly well.

I also really liked the ending, and how it opened up several questions about how long Eli had been living, whether her caretaker from earlier in the film was actually her first love, and whether Oskar is headed for the same fate. It set up the film as being very cyclical, which was an incredibly satisfying conclusion.

I'm going to have to see it again, but man, the first time through was really fantastic.

Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:08 pm
by mr cow
i saw this a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it too. it was kind of cute in a creepy way. :) great characters, terrific portrayal of vampires, a nice love story. never cared to see twilight so i can't really compare it to that- though i'm not surprised to see hollywood wanting to remake it. kinda pointless it seems since in no way will it capture the emotions that made this version so popular, but that's hollywood i guess. godspeed, matt reeves.


i also thought the same thing with the full circle ending. not sure if that's what i'm supposed to assume, but i kinda like to think of the boy's fate that way. adds a nice spin. and i did catch the genitalia flash and wondered what that was about. that quote you read from the director is an interesting twist, squirpy!