By Merle Bertrand | May 31, 2001

There’s plenty of reasons as to why “Together” shouldn’t work as well as it does. The words “Swedish comedy” don’t exactly set the heart afire, but the surprise is just how well the film works. It’s a touching story, told with humor and wit.
The film takes place in the early 70s, the last gasps of the hippy era still echoing. Elizabeth is a battered wife who leaves her husband, dragging her two kids to her brother Goran’s house, which just happens to be a commune. The kids don’t necessarily love it there, what with no television, free love and the lesbian houseguest trying to put the moves on their wife. Told in a simple style that complements the perspective of the two children, the film seems a sunnier warmer version of the same kind of tone that “The Virgin Suicides” achieved – a moody nostalgia for simpler times. Writer/director Lukas Moodysson lets the performances speak for themselves, allowing the potential of the film’s drama to come through. It would be easy to hate a Swedish comedy such as this (they even manage to squeeze in the requisite ABBA tune) yet you really begin to care for the people involved on both sides (even the abusive husband is shown in a clear and sympathetic light). Such a manner raises “Together” above many of the narrative films given more attention at Sundance.

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