2002 / Lukas Moodysson > Although the film kept my attention throughout, it’s hard to say how much was that because I actually enjoyed the story vs. how much I wanted to see what bad thing would next happen to our protagonist, a 16 year-old girl from Estonia whose mother leaves her for greener pastures in America. The whole film has the “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” feel to it, which is fine and dandy as long as it’s realistic. Unfortunately, in Lilya 4-Ever, it is realistic, and thus ends up creating a rather dark and depressing atmosphere for nearly two hours.
This is my first Moodysson film, and it delivers on quality. The storytelling isn’t amazing, but by the end of the film we definitely feel for Lilya in her struggles, but at the same time wonder if she tried hard enough to make her life better. That questioning of the protagonist is the strongest point of the film, as usually we are quick to say that those who surround our protagonist are the culprits. Here, we are viewing a naive girl who lacks proper judgment, a flaw that is necessary for the poignancy the film tries to deliver.