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By Lee Gardner | Posted

Stockholm, 1975: Finally fed up with her drunken lout of a husband, Swedish housewife Elisabeth (Lisa Lindgren) takes her two children and goes to stay with her mild, good-hearted brother Göran (Gustav Hammarsten). Göran gladly welcomes her into his home, which happens to be a claustrophobic commune crammed with open marriages, nontraditional sexual orientations, fiery political rhetoric, post-'60s sanctimoniousness, and more than a little brewing rancor. Complications ensue. Thirtysomething writer/director Lukas Moodysson has such fun with his houseful of hapless hippies that its hard to fathom how other filmmakers could have passed on such rich targets--the humorless Marxist stud-muffin, the free-lover who turns out merely to be a terrible person, a child named Tet (after the offensive) who pretends to electrocute his playmates in the name of Pinochet. Meanwhile, Elisabeth's husband, Rolf (Michael Nyqvist), does his feeble best to straighten out and win back his family. Of course, Together isn't all snickers and smirks; Moodysson's portrayal of the effect that all this childish behavior has on Elisabeth' kids (Emma Samuelsson and Sam Kessel, both uncanny) is truly grueling. Shot with lots of natural light and jerky, documentary-style camera-work, Together has the warm, intimate feel of a Dogme film. But by the time the pat, somewhat reactionary ending rolls around, you can smell pure Hollywood, even over the patchouli and simmering chickpeas.

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