A sweet and joyful Norwegian take on young sexuality
15 year old girls are sexual creatures, but we don’t see much of that in movies. Or to put be more precise: we don’t see it a lot in the kind of movies I watch. I suppose there’s a niche market with an abundance of porn films about horny supposedly 15 year old girls. But in ordinary cinemas, they’re quite rare.
Whenever we get to see 15 year olds taking part in or thinking about sex, it’s often not so much about their own pleasure, their own initiative, exploring a territory on their own conditions. They’re generally hooking up with older men, becoming objects for their desire and victims for abuse. More often than not, they end up “learning a lesson”.
Not a victim
Turn Me On, Dammit! from Norway brings a different angle to this issue, a tone and an approach which I can’t recollect seeing since Lukas Moodysson’s Fucking Åmål (Show me love) from 1998.
In this movie we meet Alma, who is far from a helpless victim, at least not as long as it comes to sex, which she craves and fantasizes about constantly. She’s horny and she masturbates, anywhere, anytime, sometimes with the help of a sex phone line. Her mother, while not being truly bigot, reacts like I think most of us would, with a bit of embarrassment and awkwardness. While we all want to be supportive and understanding to whatever our teenagers are going through, there are things that you probably don’t want to know, including listening to their loud noises as they’re climaxing while masturbating. It’s too much information and Alma’s mother doesn’t know what to do with it.
And “too much information” is something that eventually brings Alma into trouble. While she has a healthy view on her own sexuality, she lacks a bit of judgment when it comes to social codes. After an incident at a party, where the object for her desire touches her with his dick, she tells her friends about it, and it doesn’t take long before the rumor starts spreading and she becomes a “persona non grata” in the small rural village where she lives.
Easy to relate to
Recently I watched Easy A, which also has a plot with a teenage girls surrounded by sex rumors. What makes this movie different, apart from the fact that Alma actually wants to have sex and not just goes around pretending she’s had it, is the lack of lip gloss.
The people in Turn Me On, Dammit! look like people I meet in the streets, not like photo models. The bus stop where they girls share a beer and their boredom looks like bus stops where I’ve been waiting when I was a teenager, the times I didn’t hitchhike. While I’ve never had the cravings of Alma, it was easy to like her and to relate to her. It could of course just be a cultural thing; it’s nice to once in a while see something from your own part of the world.
If there’s something more I could wish for in this film, it would be better acting performances. There were moments when I cringed a bit at the way the young amateur actors delivered their lines with little more empathy than if they were reading their homework aloud. It reminded me of a school theatre setup. In the beginning this bothered me a little, but as the movie went on I got used to it and cared less and less, the more I got engaged in Alma’s issues. And if nothing else, I had to capitulate for the humor, joy, sweetness and optimism it eventually conveys.
If you’re not completely against the idea of watching 15 year old girls masturbating on screen, it’s a movie I wholeheartedly can recommend, provided you can get hold of it. Considering the content I’m not too optimistic about it getting a wide release outside of Scandinavia.
Turn Me On, Dammit! (Få meg på, for faen, Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, NO, 2011) My rating: 4/5