Let the Right One In
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Written by John Ajvide Lindqvist based on his novel
I have seen this movie just once before, in the film festival when it was first released. I went with Svend and Celeste on a very cold Sunday evening back in 2008. We were sitting in the front row of the Paramount and it was all very direct and immersive. I remember taking Celeste out for a hot chocolate afterwards because the movie is pretty disturbing.
This time I watched it with Jarrod on a relatively mild Winter Tuesday when gaming was cancelled.
I remember this movie pretty vividly but it’s a treat to watch it again. It’s so beautifully filmed and so carefully scripted. The movie is carried beautifully by the lead actors Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson are flawless in their portrayals of their characters – she as an uncertain but deadly killer and he as a dorky but rage filled pre-teen.
Is Eli a eunuch? I understand that she is in the book, and there’s a couple of moments which could be read that way but could equally be read as her saying that she’s a monster, not a girl. It’s hard to say what way this was intentioned in the filming but I suspect it’s meant to be ambiguous and I appreciate that.
Does it make me love the people? Yes it does. I hate how Oskar is bullied although I like that the kids doing the bullying sort of hate what’s happening, the little blond boy gets visibly upset and they all look uncomfortable when Conny’s brother is involved.
Eli is fantastic, soft spoken and eerie. I find it hard to look away from her when she’s on screen, and there’s a weird worldliness to the innocence of her interactions with Oskar – the way she touches him, gives him instructions. She isn’t a 12 year old, but she interacts with him as if she was a 12 year old. I love having cold hard killer women characters, don’t you?
Bechdel test: No, we have Eli, Ginia and Oskar’s mother (Yvonne?) but they only ever talk to men. In fact I don’t think any of them appear in scenes together except for when Eli attacks Ginia but there’s no speaking then.
Oskar: Eli… Can you and I be together?
Eli: What do you mean?
Oskar: Well… Will you be my girlfriend?
Eli: Oskar… I’m not a girl.
Oskar: You’re not?
Oskar: Can we be together?
Eli: Can’t we just be how we are?
State of Mind: I really love this movie, and knowing what was going to happen made the hard bits easier to watch. Jarrod enjoyed it and especially rated Eli as well. Then we watched some awesome music videos on youtube and had a chat so all in all, successful evening, I’m glad I own this film so I can watch it again. It did make me want to rewatch other arty vampire flicks like Only Lovers Left Alive and Byzantium.