Bitter Sweetheart and Commit.

Bitter Sweetheart is a Swedish coming of age comedy/drama. The main character is Lina, who tells us in the opening voice over that she’s “not” a lot of things, like pretty or popular. She also worries about dying a virgin.

She’s 15 years old. Right…

The other key characters are her two girlfriends and a couple of very different boys. I hate to say much more about the plot, but I will say that I loved the message that the film left me with. Someone else reminded me that there’s also a great scene with Lina and her mother, and that the cinematography is also quite nice.

If you have a chance to see this film, I definitely recommend it. Just look past the slightly too frequent vomiting scenes.

I’ll give it a weak 3.5 stars out of 4 stars.

Commit. (the title does include the period) is a very low budget, very talky drama. “Sylvia” and “Steiner” met online, and as the film opens they meet in person for the first time in a coffee shop. They quickly learn far more about each other than you would expect two people to reveal on a first date. Or is this a first date?

The film appears to have been made very cheaply. It looks to have been filmed on standard definition video, with persistent SpastiCam™ and very long takes (only three for the entire film, with one for each act). The lead actress is the writer/director’s wife, in her feature debut. The lead actor is also in his acting debut.

Considering the participant’s lack of prior experience and the low budget, the film isn’t bad. The long take gimmick is kind of cool, so long as the shaky camera isn’t a problem for you. But the performances only seem real about half the time, and too often are pretty amateur. I can only marginally recommend it.

I’ll give it 2.5 stars out of 4 stars. Lower for those prone to nausea.

Both seen 2/28/2008 at Cinequest.

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