Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Let the Right One In Review

"I'm twelve. But I've been twelve for a long time."

The whole world is afraid of getting old. I won't lie, I am too. Even at only thirty-one, I find myself envious of those younger than myself. 

I don't envy twelve though. Fuck twelve.

Twelve year old me discovered what it meant to wake up in a hospital bed, confused and scared, hours after suffering a massive seizure. My condition only reared its ugly head at night. Twelve years old and scared to fall asleep. 

Twelve year old me gained weight. Just another reason to get picked on at school. I tried my best to hide my tears, releasing them during private, quiet moments. I was too young and thus too ignorant to have any perspective, to recognize that my problems, as serious as they might have been, paled in comparison to what so many others dealt with on a daily basis. Twelve year old me didn't worry about anyone else. Twelve year old me was constantly looking in the mirror, and he didn't like what stared back at him.

Oskar is twelve. He is bullied but never fights back. Neither did I. Eli is twelve as well, although she has been for over 200 years. Unbeknownst to Oskar, Eli is a vampire. Forever twelve. Fuck twelve.

Eli is odd, sure, but she is pretty and kind to Oskar. A boy accustomed to isolation suddenly forms a bond with a girl his age. Oskar falls in love. She encourages him to stand up for himself. He does. It feels fucking good, and this is demonstrated with a brilliant upward camera angle of Oskar after his moment of triumph, a weak and timid boy suddenly on top of the world. 

Oskar eventually discovers Eli's dark and literally bloody secret, but he is in love. He is empowered. He is twelve. 

Let the Right One In is a Swedish film that is so gorgeously crafted and brilliant that no matter how many words I put down right now, they won't do it justice. Directed exquisitely by Tomas Alfredson, I had this picture pegged incorrectly prior to pressing play as I expected it to merely be a gore fest vampire movie as all I knew about it was the genre label of "horror", and yet what I actually experienced was a totally unique and bizarre coming of age story about the bond of true friendship and love. I am left thrilled with how deeply I connected to this film. I never could have anticipated it, which actually made the experience all the more special. 

What else can I gush about? Oh, how about the photography of Hoyte Van Hoytema, a dark and cold aesthetic that somehow manages to feel warm thanks to the unlikeliest of love stories. The performances from these young actors, Kare Hedebrant as Oskar and Lina Leandersson as Eli, are absolutely on point and they share a chemistry that shines so brightly. When they are together in front of a snow covered backdrop, it's about as beautiful a frame as you can find anywhere. 

Just when I thought Let the Right One In couldn't get any better or more wonderfully realized, one of the final scenes that takes place at a swimming pool happened and I couldn't stop smiling. I wanted to bathe in that moment forever. I will be replaying it over and over and over again in my mind. 

I don't envy twelve. I don't miss twelve. Fuck twelve.

I bet life would have been a lot easier, though, if I would have had an Eli by my side back then.



  1. OOO, I loved this one. That scene when she comes into the apartment uninvited is amazing. 4.5/5

    1. Yes! An excellent scene indeed Nathan, glad you love it too.

  2. Oh cool, are you finally getting to the movies from "Name a film I will watch it and review it" ? If I remember correctly this was one of the ones I reccomended and I'm so glad you loved it! It's definitely one of my favorite foreign language films and I watch it either once every year or once every other year. And it's great no matter how many times you watch it :D

    Just on a side note, the book this film was based on is so much more fucked up than the movie. The movie is a really great adaptation, but it's really just scratching the surface of the book. For instance, it's extremely subtly alluded to in the film, but in the book it outright states that Eli is short for Elias who Oscar thought was a girl but turned out to be a guy. The flashback on how Elias became a vampire is brutal...too brutal to even put into words. Then, the first caretaker who acted as Eli's dad was a big pedophile in the book and one of the subplots was all about him. So yeah, I still love the film even after reading the book, but if you want a more fucked up darker story to this already stellar story then I suggest picking up the book. It's a good read.

    Anyways I'm rambling on again. Great review man and can't wait to see more!

    1. Thanks Cody! I actually have done a few reviews others suggested already but I have been spacing them out. I don't have the patience to only stick with a script with film watching, like I can't just go based off of a list for a month straight. I constantly find something new and interesting to see either streaming or at the library. I still have the list on my computer and plan on getting to them all over time.

      Thank you so much for this suggestion because what a terrific film. Appreciate it.

      Based on a book? Had no idea. Wow. Very interesting.

      No problem, appreciate the rambling haha. Thank you for the kind words and for reading!

  3. I have to watch it now. Thanks for the awesome review.

    1. Ahmed, please do! I hope you enjoy the film as well.

      Appreciate the kind words, thanks for reading!