Sunday, June 21, 2009

Let the Right One In

After complaining last night about not having a movie to watch, I remembered I could watch my queue on my computer. I chose to watch Let the Right One In (2008) a Swedish vampire movie. I picked it because I am quite fond of vampires and vampire movies, but this film was completely unexpected. The film tells the story of 12 year-old Oskar who becomes friends with 12 year-old Eli when she moves in next door.

Oskar is a sad boy who lives with his mom in Sweden. His parents are divorced and while it is obvious Oskar enjoys spending time with his dad, he does not appear to understand his father's new lifestyle. Oskar is mercilessly bullied at school and does not have any friends until Eli moves next door.

Eli lives with her father and is a vampire. At first she does not want to be friends with Oskar, but eventually their shared loneliness draws them together and they become friends. Eli's arrival coincides with a serious of unexplained murders; her father is killing people and draining them of their blood to feed Eli. Eli encourages Oskar to stand up to the bullies and Oskar in turn is accepting of Eli's being a vampire. A romance develops between Oskar and Eli that is threatened by dramatic events and is heartbreaking to watch. The scenes where Oskar teaches Eli Morse code so they can communicate between their shared bedroom wall is very sweet.

This film is visual poetry. It is at it's core a sweet coming-of-age story of two lonely, fragile adolescents one of whom happens to be a vampire. The two actors, Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson do a marvelous job portraying Oskar and Eli. The film was shot during a Swedish winter and the cinematography serves to emphasize the feelings of the lead characters. There is a shot of two treetops against the gray sky, the tree leaves are frozen and are sparkling in the light; the shot is absolutely breathtaking. The film won several international cinematography and photography awards.

This is a very moving film to watch, I was happy that I saw it but I was also sad because it was hard to watch Oskar and Eli; I could feel their loneliness as I watched. Ultimately the film uses vampirism to teach the viewer about acceptance, friendship, and love; I highly recommend it.

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