Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Låt den rätte komma in

... or, "Things to do while waiting for your Twilight movie DVD order to come through".

Here's the story. It's a love story. In a town where the sun is forever obscured, a brunette girl moves into town and meets a pale, unearthly boy. Girl gives her heart to boy. Girl shouldn't give her heart to the boy, of course.

Sounds familiar so far?

But in this case, Låt den rätte komma in ("Let the Right (one) (Come) In"), the girl, Eli, is the vampire ("12 years old, more or less" ... more or less by about 200 years), and the boy, Oskar, is just a boy.

And, unlike Twilight, the "standard" vampire rules apply. You know: sunlight being deadly, vamps needing an invitation to komma in your home, etc.

Here's what's compelling about this movie: everything! Eli and Oskar have that sincerely 12-year-old love. They love each other. They love each other. But they don't know it. They're 12-years-old, more or less, so they don't know what "love" is, right? They don't know what "love" feels like. It just feels nice and scary and weird. You know, that feeling, right? It's exactly the feeling you have, being in love.

But they'd do anything for each other.

They love each other.

And, unlike Twilight, Låt den rätte komma in does not flinch from the bald consequences of being a vampire. Eli's thirsty; Eli needs to drink. People die — either on the edge of a knife wielded by her bumbling but earnest father-figure assistant or by her own hands and teeth — people die, that is, ... if they are lucky.

And Oskar has his own troubles. Yes, at school, but his home life, like Bella's, is that of a broken family. But, even though his parents try their best, they are no Renée and Charlie.

Bella was very, very lucky, compared to Oskar. And Oskar's parents are loving and well-intentioned, too.

The horror of this movie is not Eli being a vampire. The horror of this movie is ...

Well, what are you doing? Why are you still reading this entry? Why aren't you at Best Buy buying the DVD or Blockbuster renting it? Just buy or rent the thing: it's money well-invested. Just watch the thing (again, in my case): it's time well-invested.

It's almost an insult to call Låt den rätte komma in a "vampire" movie, because it asks the fundamental questions: what is life? What is love? If it takes a vampire to see you as alive, as a person, to love you completely for what and who you are — unlike all your school "mates" — is she not, then, worthy of your love in return? If she needs you so much that she's willing to kill for you, yes, but she's also willing to die for you, putting her life in your hands, time and again, would you turn away from her, just because she's something she can't help being? But, not only die for you, but do anything: like eat a sweet you bought for her? Even though she knows how very sick she'll get by doing it? Or run away from you when you cut yourself? Or apologize for being so cold as she holds you, because she's forgotten how to be warm?

And why does Eli love you, Oskar? Maybe because you are worthy of being loved? Maybe because you are a nice boy, after all? Sweet, kind, caring, funny ... smart? Thoughtful and alone, but reaching out for something ... for somebody to love? In short, everything the world despises and belittles ... everything beautiful. Everything Eli sees in you, and loves.

Låt den rätte komma in could not have a better title. For Eli and Oskar, two outcasts in a world that's lost its way, have let the right one come in. Eli and Oskar let each other in ... into their hearts.

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