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Movie Review: Let The Right One In
Bar Harbor
kestrell and I watched this movie last weekend, and quite liked it.

On one level, it's a typical YA story. 12-year-old Oskar is living with his divorced mom, though occasionally gets to visit his (gay?) dad. He has a hard time dealing with school bullies, and the teachers seem to pay no more attention to him than his parents do. He has a morbid interest in violent crimes, and hides a folder of newspaper clippings about them under his bed, along with a knife.

Then a new family moves in to the apartment next door, an older man, and a girl (Eli) who seems be Oskar's age. They don't hit it off right away, but they gradually draw closer. Neither of them gets as much support as they want from the adults in their lives, and they come to realize that only in each other can they find the human contact which they each crave.

Well, as long as you have a broad enough definition of 'human', that is. Eli protests that she isn't *exactly* a girl, and says that she's "been twelve for a very long time". And the older man she lives with is (probably) not really her father, but more what a White Wolf fan would refer to as her ghoul -- he goes out at night, kills people, drains their blood, and brings it back home to Eli. Yes, Oskar's only real friend turns out to be a vampire.

For a vampire movie, this is rather subdued and slow-paced. There is occasional action, and gore, but never to excess. It plays some interesting games with classic vampire lore along the way, including a unique take on why they have to be invited in. (Though the 'rules' of vampires in this story are only alluded to, never fully explained.)

As a YA coming-of-age story, it has a lot of depth. There are intriguing layers of gender ambiguity. And the society of adults gets portrayed as a very cold place, both literally and figuratively (the film is set in Sweden, during winter).

The actors were generally competent (though some of the child voices for the english dub were pretty poor). Special recognition to Lina Leandersson, whose portrayal of Eli hit a lot of very interesting and complex notes.

This film gave me the rare pleasre of having no idea where it was headed. A story with this set-up could have gone to a lot of different places. Without spoilers, I will merely say that I found the conclusion satisfying. Recommended.

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