With that said, I want to sing my praises for the Swedish masterpiece Let the Right One In.
THIS COULD BE ONE OF THE GREATEST FILMS I HAVE EVER HAD THE PLEASURE TO SEE! I will likely not do this film justice by my post here but I urge you to see it!
Sorry...I had to get that out. Anywho...
Based on the Swedish novel of the same name, Let the Right One In is a film about a 12 year old boy, Oskar, who is bullied at school and lives in a broken home. Oskar befriends a mysterious "12 year old" girl, Eli, who just moved in to the apartment next door. The film focuses on the innocence of young love mixed up in a tragic situation with deadly consequences. This is a vampire film. Correction, this is what all vampire films should have been and should strive to be. We are not thrust into a world of winy teenagers who sulk all day, fall in love with vampire who shine in the sun and werewolves who can't keep their shirts on, and try to kill themselves just because they can't stand being apart from them. Let me restate that...this film does not have teenage angst oozing from every frame. What this film is, however, is a brutally honest portrayal of life, love, and danger. Vampires in this film are taken very seriously and there are clear and sever consequences to all actions.
The strength of this film lies in its character development. We are introduced to Oskar who is a tormented boy. His parents are separated, neither one really wants him, he is a lone a lot, and he is tormented at school by bullies. In his alone times, he fantasizes about getting back at those who have hurt him in subtle yet disturbing dialogs. We see Oskar at the beginning of the film staring out of his window with a kind of malaise on his face. Oskar is a product of neglect and abuse who is searching for someone to understand him. Enter Eli. Eli moves in to his apartment complex one evening. His first encounter with her is awkward at best. She shows up while he is on the jungle gym outside of the apartments. He notices odd things about her but he doesn't seem to let them bother him. Who cares why she isn't wearing shoes? Who cares why she smells funny? Oskar has been dealt a hand in life where nothing surprises him anymore. He takes all new things in with a calm demeanor.
Eli is a vampire stuck in the body of a 12 year old. She is lonely and inadvertently seeks the companionship of Oskar. Eli is protected by an older man who appears to be a father figure, but Eli is drawn to Oskar, even though she knows the relationship could be doomed. She sees and understands Oskar's situation in life and encourages him to stand up for himself.
I really don't want to give more details to the story itself. I feel this is a film that must be experienced to really let it take effect. There are some grim aspects of this film, even more grim than what I have already described, that are beautiful, heartbreaking, and tragic. This is not a gory film. There are very few times when the violence is actually shown on screen. When it is shown, however, it builds the tragic theme to an even more devastating level. If you took away all the vampire elements, we would still be left with a film about two desperate kids searching for meaning and fulfillment in life. However, the vampire elements create a remarkable story that adds so much to the vampire lore. As I said before, this is a beautiful film and one of the greatest vampire stories ever told. Please give this film a chance. Watch it in its original language with the English subtitles.
Click the title of this entry to see the films official trailer.