ROLE: Rolf - husband, father & plumber

GENRE: Comedy/Drama/Romance

COUNTRY: Sweden/Denmark/Italy

SWEDEN RELEASE: August 25, 2000

Synopsis  (spoilers)

"Together" is set in one of the communes that sprang up around Stockholm in the 1970s. Loosely led by the sweet-natured Göran, who will do anything to avoid a conflict, the group spend their time arguing about left-wing politics and other questions such as whether doing the dishes is bourgeois. The commune’s dynamics are significantly shaken when Göran’s sister, Elizabeth, leaves her violent husband Rolf and moves in, bringing her two children Eva and Stefan.

Self-declared lesbian Anna lives in the commune with her ex-husband Lasse and their son Tet (named after the Tet offensive), who befriends Stefan. The two play games such as “torture the Pinochet victim” where, in the spirit of equality, they take turns at being Augusto Pinochet. Eva meanwhile befriends a lonely boy across the street; his family appears conventional on the surface but proves to be even more dysfunctional than the commune of which they so openly disapprove. The children are portrayed as sidelined by everyone in the film, from the new school where they are bullied to the parents who, while genuinely loving, are too busy experimenting with their own freedom to show it.

Elisabeth’s husband Rolf makes a concerted effort to clean up his act, although not before getting drunk and arrested, leaving his children stranded on a roadside after a disastrous meal in a Chinese restaurant. Further relationship problems are found with Klas, who is desperately in love with Lasse, and between Göran and his selfish and immature girlfriend, who wants the benefits of an open relationship but not the responsibilities.

The film ends on a feel-good tone set to an ABBA song, showing (almost) all of the characters seeming to find the love they need.

Film Details

 Lisa Lindgren - Elisabeth
Michael Nyqvist - Rolf, Elisabeth's husband
Emma Samuelsson - Eva, Elisabeth's and Rolf's daughter
Sam Kessel - Stefan, Elisabeth's and Rolf's son
Gustaf Hammarsten - Göran, Elisabeth's brother
Anja Lundqvist - Lena, Göran's girlfriend
Jessica Liedberg - Anna
Ola Rapace - Lasse
Axel Zuber -Tet, Anna and Lasse's son
Shanti Roney - Klas
Olle Sarri - Erik Andersson
Sten Ljunggren - Birger
Cecilia Frode - Signe
Lars Frode - Sigvard
Emil Moodysson - Måne
Henrik Lundström - Fredrik

* * * * *

Director - Lukas Moodysson
Screenplay - Lukas Moodysson
Cinematography - Ulf Brantås

106 minutes

Production Notes:

Filming began in Trollhättan and Gothenburg on October 27, 1999 and ended December 20, 1999.

Director Lukas Moodysson:
"I was passionate about all the details - the music, the clothes, the posters, the beards but I wanted it to be completely realistic, not at all over-the-top or ironic. There’s something about the ’70s that’s automatically funny, and I even considered setting it in the present to avoid that...  It’s about what happens when people crash into one another. It’s about how to live together, which I think makes it a political film in these egotistical times... Some people say the film shows that if you have TV and if you eat meat, then your life gets better. It’s been liked and hated for many reasons, but to me it’s obvious: This is a film that has a lot of love and sympathy for the left wing. Yes, it’s critical, but on a personal level, I was trying to find out how I really felt about the left in Sweden."

Publicity Stills
Promotional photo


Film Commentary

"Mr. Moodysson's film never feels less than completely natural as it moves toward the reconfigurations that provide its sunny climax. Here is one of the most pleasant foreign films of the year, a funny, graceful and immensely good-natured work."   ...Dave Kehr, The Times

"It’s a insightful, compassionate film which depicts its subjects without condescension and with warmth and affection; their failings are closely observed, to be sure - often humorously and occasionally powerfully - but the individuals themselves are never cruelly ridiculed. As a result, there’s a genuineness in the emotions on display in the picture that’s at once touching and amusing."  ...Frank Swietek, One Guy's Opinion

"Moodysson is a tough-nuts modern humanist — in that respect he’s reminiscent of Jean Renoir, although he works on a smaller, more intimate scale and his approach is entirely different. He doesn’t have Renoir’s elegance as a stylist, but a Renoirian love for his characters, no matter how maddening their behavior, hovers around them like an aura. Their foibles make up the most vivid colors in his palette; he doesn’t allow any superiority or smugness to muddy his view of them. What’s more, he has a great knack for ensemble comedy, moving the story along while keeping each character in focus. By the end of the movie, you feel you’ve moved in with them."   ...Stephanie Zacharek, Salon magazine

"Moodysson is clearly a talent to watch – at the age of twenty-three he has already carved out a niche in ‘feelgood comedies that give you something to think about’. As such, Together is, quite simply, one of the best films of the year and is highly recommended."  ...Matthew Turner, View London

"In Together, the square and the free rub up against each other, but they only pretend to clash. By the end, with the sublime image of a soccer game in the snow (set to the wistful rapture of ABBA’s 'S.O.S.'), they arrive at an accommodation, and the people in the commune, for the first time, really do come together. It’s the single most moving moment I’ve seen in any film this year."  ...Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

"It's not too hyper to say that in young Lukas Moodysson's Together, Altman meets Bergman: with its multi-thread, multi character scenario and its socially, culturally focused setting, the film develops a cumulative effect that is engrossing, moving and satisfying. But it's not a quick take away, and you have to invest in it. The rewards are solid. His characters collide and bounce off each other, sometimes in harmony, often not. The structure of a communal house as a tool to bring diverse characters together is used with great innovation and we are never sure of how life will develop for each of them, but we make a connection with them all."  ...Andrew L. Urban, Urban CineFile

"Moodysson, shooting in slightly grainy, autumn tones of warm reds and browns, attentively captures the constant clamor of conversation in the commune, and the often-funny details feel just right... Ultimately, Together is as comfortable as the flannel-and-old-sweaters wardrobe worn by the cast, and as comforting. When the entire cast plays soccer together in the snow at the end, their differences happily resolved, it's one of those perfect catch-in-the-throat movie endings that give us hope for a better world."   ...Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times

"This rich, layered and unusually funny film is a wonderful satirical study of a socialist/hippie commune in Stockholm in 1975. Created by Lukas Moodysson, the film plays like a greatest hits of timeless scenes. Every observation and every character is handled with a perfect combination of ironic distance and utmost sensitivity by Moodysson, who not only demonstrates a deep understanding for everyone of his wide array of characters, but also has the creativity to put them in a flux of hilarious situations where their highly different perspectives and personalities clash. There's ill-placed romances, overzealous politicization, and a full spectrum of sexualities surfacing, all leading to a variety of miscommunication and quarrels, but also awakenings and warmth. That last word is perhaps the best for describing how Moodyson views and treats this characters, and it's also largely what makes Tillsammans such an uplifting, universal and delightful experience. This is a film for all ages and all times."   ...Fredrik Gunerius Fevang, The Fresh Films.com

"It is a harder task to make a film about a commune with affection for the people involved, and a real sense of the time, while retaining enough insight to make us laugh. Such a film is Lukas Moodysson's Together - a tale with an edge of thoughtfulness and sadness, lending the comedy a flavor more sweet than sour."   ...Chris Dashiell, CineScene.com

The film opens, give or take a scene or two, on Elisabeth's wrenching departure from the family home: everyone in tears, Rolf storming and begging, and Abba's minor-key masterpiece 'SOS' providing the soundtrack. In the final scene, when everything looks so superficially rosy, the song swells back in again, modulated and modified by all that's gone before. And it's the irreducible complexity of what we feel when we hear that piece of pop music for the second time that makes Together my favourite film. Rather than a melody, it has become a chord: joyful and painful at once, it offers you hope and at the same time shows you the hopelessness of it; it breaks your heart and leaves you smiling. The first time I heard it in that Sunday cinema, I felt like it had been written for me."   ...Sarah Crown, The Guardian

"The predominant colors of the film, reds and golds, add to the ’70s feel of the piece, as if it had been shot in 1975 and only recently unearthed for public viewing... The characters emerge from their separate stories marvelously, a credit both to Moodysson’s direction and the uniformly terrific performances of the actors. Each character must confront a reversal, either internal or external, that changes them forever. The actors do a lot of heavy lifting emotionally, and Moodysson keeps them always just short of melodrama."  ...Reed Oliver, Hybrid Magazine

"Writer-director Lukas Moodysson has a light, sentimental touch that makes the audience feel connected with these people, even the ones you don't like at first... From character traits to costumes to the VW van and the strategic use of ABBA songs, 32-year-old Moodysson does a brilliant job of recreating the atmosphere of an era he was too young to remember. His ability to make the viewer feel a part of the commune is a tribute to his Scandinavian vérité filmmaking style, influenced by directors such as Lars Von Trier. And he garners wonderfully human performances across the board."  ...Rob Blackwelder, SPLICEDwire

"Performances are wonderful and when the climax suddenly impacts, the emotional force is as unexpected and powerful as life itself. Compelling and invigorating, Together is a tapestry of colours, textures and senses. I especially like the use of music - songs like ABBA's 'SOS' are played twice in very different circumstances, allowing the lyric to impact in a totally different way."  ...Louise Keller, Urban CineFile

"Together is far from your average comedy. There are no jokes as such, and most of the humour stems from observing the surreal little moments that are just part of human life. It's difficult to realistically capture human relationships on screen, but this where Moodysson's main talent lies. If there's one thing that all his films have in common it's the sense of realism. It never feels scripted and the handheld camera adds to the documentary feel of the film."  ...Dr. Nick, efilmcritic.com

"Written by the director Lukas Moodysson, this big-hearted film builds a believable set of relationships and remains sympathetic to every character, even when they're acting badly and hurting each other - including the abusive Rolf."  ...Graeme Clark, The Spinning Image

"Dealing with a far wider scope than his previous outing, writer-director Lukas Moodysson again impresses — and he manages to give a story arc to more than a dozen characters in less than two hours. His no-frills filmmaking techniques may be somewhat distracting for some (especially the naturalistic cinematography), but he balances humor and drama well and gets some strong performances from a cast made up of both veterans and talented newcomers."  ...Jeff Vice, Deseret News

If Bergman was the mid-century Scandinavian voice of conscience—creating dark, powerful films about the human experience in a world where God seems absent—Lukas Moodysson is his contemporary equivalent."  ...J. Robert Parks, Paste Magazine