Turn Me On, Goddammit! is a quietly revolutionary coming-of-age tale
Starring Helene Bergsholm. In Norwegian with English subtitles. Unrated. Opens Friday, May 18, at the Vancity Theatre
“Welcome to Skoddeheimen,” sighs 15-year-old Alma (wonderful newcomer Helene Bergsholm) at the start of this cool-coloured, quietly revolutionary film from Norway. She says it with the lip-curling disdain of teenage girls everywhere—with a dash of fear coming from her sense of adulthood soon to come.
Alma lives outside the remote, fiordside town with her single mom (Henriette Steenstrup, the only pro actor in the main cast) and spends much of her time grousing at bus stops alongside two sisters: the terminally blond, lip-gloss–addicted Ingrid (Beate Støfring), and the goth-blackened Sara (Malin Bjørhovde, who resembles a pint-sized Janeane Garofalo). Her friends don’t know she spends her free time (and mother’s money) paying for phone sex and that she indulges in elaborate romantic fantasies about a rather unpromising specimen called Artur (Matias Myren).
When Artur finally gets a chance to show the pretty, slightly gawky Alma how he feels, in the woods behind the youth centre, he literally lets his pecker do the talking. When she matter-of-factly reports this to her pals, they decide she’s lying and drop her like a bad kjøttboller. Her so-called life is even worse than usual: she’s known at school as Dick-Alma, and far from listening to her, Mom piles on the betrayals. At least the phone-sex guy is sympathetic, although his suggestion to drink more booze is perhaps a tad irresponsible.
Only 76 minutes long, this smart, honest, and ruthlessly funny movie is a first feature for documentary maker Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, adapting the novel by Olaug Nilssen. The movie’s title is usually translated, more succinctly, as Turn Me On, Dammit! Alma’s not the type of girl to bring a god into a discussion.
Watch the trailer for Turn Me On, Goddammit!.