i watched a film yesterday that makes me regret any overly high praise i've given to films here in the past. i regret that high praise because, somehow, those comments might detract from the high praise i want to give to a film right now. if you've ever heard me say anything great and grand about a film, it was spoken at a time before i knew about LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. this is one of those rare films that changes the way you look at film altogether. such a thing happened with me and A TALE OF TWO SISTERS last spring. after watching the korean cinema revive an ancient korean fairy tale so subtly and poetically, i began looking at films differently from that point. perhaps i finally realized what films were capable of, and everything seemed to pale in comparison. that's how i feel about LET THE RIGHT ONE IN: it achieved something films rarely achieve, and so much will pale in comparison to it.
the story here is simple. oskar is a bright young lad who lives in south sweden. he likes rubics cubes and newspaper clippings. his parents are divorced, and his mother is overly protective. and oskar doesn't have the heart to tell her that all the scrapes and bruises he comes home with every day are from the school bullies. he makes up other excuses to hide the truth.
eli (pronounced ellie) moves in next door. eli walks out into snow in short sleeves and barefeet. she announces to oskar that they cannot be friends. when oskar asks eli if she feels cold standing out in the snow with so few clothes on, eli responds "i've forgotten how to feel cold." oskar is intrigued by his new neighbor. and, against eli's first declarations, the two become friends.
weird things start happening soon after oskar and eli meet, things that tip oskar off that his new friend may not be like anyone else. when eli finally reveals to oskar that she is a vampire, oskar has to decide what to do with their relationship. for a 12 year old lad who has no friends at school, losing eli is not an option. where their relationship takes them makes for one of the best film endings i've ever witnessed.
i'm not sure i can recommend this film highly enough. and i'm not even sure what about the film i wish to recommend. the story is bold and unique. the acting is flawless, especially from such young actors. and the filmmaking feels careful and deliberate. put that altogether and you have a film that soars on every single level.
by the way, i have anticipated this film for several months after seeing it receive a 100% ranking on rottentomatoes. it's had a little time to decline to 97% since then, but, still, a 100% ranking is rarer than rare. it like never happens. and then to see that this 100% film was a vampire movie intrigued me even more. usually, i do not trust the reviews. these folks look for things in film that do not interest me. however, this time the reviews and i are in total agreement.
i give LET THE RIGHT ONE IN five panicked house cats out of five. push this film to the top of your netflix. run to the blockbuster today. shucks, drive over to my place tonight. you'll be thanking me you did.